South's opposition protest against fielding unified team in Winter Games

ANI | Updated: Jan 21, 2018 22:07 IST

Seoul [South Korea], Jan. 21 (ANI): South Korea's opposition party, the Liberty Korea Party, protested against the decision of fielding a unified Korean ice hockey team in the Pyeongchang Winter Games on Sunday.

The Yonhap news agency reported that the ruling Democratic Party welcomed the move, saying that the idea of fielding a unified Korean team would uphold peace and tranquillity in the relations between two Koreas.

However, the Liberty Korea Party protested against the decision, saying it "contradicts the spirit by taking advantage of the sporting event for political purposes".

"The Moon Jae-in administration has given up the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and declared it as the 'Pyongyang Olympics'," Rep. Chang Je-won, the spokesman for the Liberty Korea Party, said in a statement.

The Liberty Korea Party also claimed that going forward with such a decision would result in the glorification of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as a 'peace leader'.

However, the Democratic Party rubbished the claims of the opposition party and said that it had to be patient and were making efforts for a successful Winter Olympics event.

"The Liberty Korea Party should refrain from making statements that insult the residents of Gangwon Province as well as the people who have been making various efforts for a successful Pyeongchang Winter Games and Paralympics for many years," the ruling party said in a press release.

On Saturday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that North Korea will be allowed to send 22 athletes to compete in three sports, paving the way for the two Koreas to establish a joint team for women's ice hockey team at the Winter Olympics.

North Korea will also send 24 officials, including coaches, alongside the athletes in three sports and five disciplines.

The Winter Olympics is scheduled to take place at South Korea's alpine resort of Pyeongchang from February 9 to 25, located about 180 km from Seoul.

The development between the two countries has brought some ease into their strained relations. Also, the two sides have also agreed to hold military talks on solving border tensions. (ANI)