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[Breaking] N. Korean delegates arrive in S. Korea for Olympic closing ceremony

Led by Kim Yong-chol, vice chairman of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, North Korea’s high-level delegates arrived at South Korea on Sunday to attend the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

Kim, who also served as the head of the ruling party’s United Front Department, and his support staff crossed the border via a land route at around 9:50 a.m, according to Seoul’s Unification Ministry.

Accompanying Kim was Ri Son-gwon, chairman of the Committee for Peaceful Reunification, and six other support staff. They are expected to meet President Moon Jae-in before returning home on Tuesday.

Kim Yong-chol arrives in South Korea for the Closing Ceremony of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games. (Yonhap)

The conservative Liberty Korea Party has been staging a protest against Kim’s visit since Saturday near the border entrance heading toward Seoul. The main opposition party points to Kim as the man who orchestrated several attacks on South Korea, including the sinking of the Cheonan warship in 2010.   

Unification Minister Cho Myung-kyun said further confirmation is needed to determine whether Kim gave direct orders to sink Cheonan. Seoul’s top spy agency, the National Intelligence Service, also said it is difficult to pinpoint the blame on Kim. 

Asked by reporters how he felt about the Cheonan sinking, Kim remained silent. After being greeted by Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung, Kim headed for the South at 10:15 a.m., the Unification Ministry said. 

By Yeo Jun-suk (