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North Korea has cancelled a joint cultural performance with the South planned ahead of the winter Olympic Games, South Korea’s unification ministry said Monday.
Pyongyang blamed South Korean media for encouraging “insulting” public sentiment regarding the North and cancelled the February 4th event to be held in the North to celebrate the upcoming games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Seoul called the decision “very regrettable” and urged its neighbor to uphold all agreements made between the two countries, Reuters reported.
Last week, twelve North Korean female ice hockey players crossed the border to join their counterparts in the South to form the first-ever unified Korean Olympic team since the two sides split in the 1950s civil war.
The surprise offer by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to send a delegation to the PyeongChang Games during his New Year’s Day speech paved the way for restored dialogue between Pyongyang and Seoul, which had been frozen due to North Korea’s development of its nuclear and ballistic missile weapons programs in defiance of international sanctions.
The talks led to an agreement for both sides to march in the February 9 opening ceremonies under a unified flag, as well as the formation of the joint women’s hockey squad.
But South Koreans have grown increasingly angry over the combined team, believing their compatriots will lose playing time to the North Koreans and that President Moon Jae-in gave up too much to the North in his eagerness to have Pyongyang participated in the Games.