July 04, 2018 12:56
The South Korean men's and women's basketball teams arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday, accompanied by government delegates and journalists.
The 101-stong delegation are in North Korea for the first cross-border friendlies in 15 years. There will be four games, including between mixed North and South Korean teams.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a big basketball fan, so it is highly likely that he will attend.
The women's mixed game on Wednesday is especially important as it will be an opportunity to witness the skill of North Korean players who will join a unified team for the Asian Games in Indonesia in August.
The two Koreas will finalize by July 10 the roster for their unified teams in three sports including women's basketball.
It was Kim Jong-un who suggested an inter-Korean friendly in basketball when President Moon Jae-in proposed a revival of friendly football matches at their summit in April.
The delegates, led by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, were flown in two C-130H military aircraft to Pyongyang Sunan International Airport.
There they were welcomed by North Korean officials including Vice Sports Minister Won Kil-u.
A South Korean government spokesman said Tuesday, "We considered using a civilian aircraft, but the logistics of hiring one and navigating international sanctions against North Korea proved too complicated."
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