South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won is likely to attend the closing ceremony of the Sochi Winter Games, officials said Wednesday, following public calls for a top government official to make an appearance at the event.
Seoul was reportedly planning to send a vice culture minister to the Feb. 23 closing ceremony but changed its decision amid concerns that it could lose a chance to conduct sports diplomacy, especially as South Korea will be hosting the next Winter Games in its eastern alpine town of PyeongChang in 2018.
Public calls for a top government official to visit the games have grown after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony on Friday. South Korea sent Culture Minister Yoo Jin-ryong to the ceremony.
"The (prime minister's) attendance will be decided in the next one or two days, but for now, I understand that his attendance at the closing ceremony is nearly certain," an official at the prime minister's office said in a phone interview with Yonhap News Agency, asking that he not be identified.
During his visit, Chung is also expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and watch South Korean figure skater Kim Yu-na in competition, officials said. (Yonhap)