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NK changes date for inspection team's S. Korea visit; Team to arrive Sunday

North Korea will send an advance team next week in preparation for a trip by its art troupe to the South during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, Seoul officials said Saturday.


The North will send a seven-member team Sunday to check the venues for its proposed art performances in Seoul and Gangnueng, which is located some 260 kilometers east of the capital, according to Seoul's unification ministry.

The ministry said Seoul accepted the North's notification about the visit earlier in the day.

The announcement comes after the North abruptly notified South Korea late Friday that it was canceling the visit, which was originally scheduled for Saturday.

"The members of the team, excluding the itinerary, will be the same as what we had agreed on before," a ministry official, who asked not to be named, said. "The North did not explain why it unilaterally halted the visit a day earlier."

The delegation will be led by Hyon Song-wol, the leader of the all-female Moranbong Band, it added. Kim Jong-un ordered the creation of the band in 2012, and it features Western-style music and outfits.

The ministry said the advance team will use a western land route and stay for two days. 

The art troupe will be part of a North Korean delegation to the Winter Olympics that will also include athletes and high-ranking officials. The PyeongChang Olympics are slated to be held from Feb. 9-25.

The art performances during the PyeongChang Games, if held, would be the first North Korean performances in South Korea since 2002, when Pyongyang sent a cohort of 30 singers and dancers from several music and performance groups to Seoul for a joint event. (Yonhap)

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