North Korea Scraps Joint Olympic Cultural Event With South Korea

January 30, 2018

North Korea canceled a joint cultural performance with South Korea at a mountain resort north of the border, blaming the media in Seoul for “defaming” its position on next month’s Winter Olympics.

South Korea called the decision to scrap the Feb. 4 event at Mount Kumgang “regretful,” according to a statement issued by its Unification Ministry. The statement said North Korea also cited criticism of an “internal celebration event,” which appeared to be a reference to speculation that it will hold a large-scale military parade in Pyongyang on the eve of the Games.

The decision highlights the unpredictability of the North Korean regime, which has so far this year refrained from provocations such as missile tests. The U.S. and Japan are skeptical that North Korea’s participation in the Olympics will lead to a lasting peace, as Kim Jong Un’s regime has objected to any talks that could lead to denuclearization.

The move doesn’t affect plans for Pyongyang to send athletes to the Games starting Feb. 9, or for an art troupe to perform concerts in the South. For the cultural performance at the mountain resort, South Korea planned to send K-pop bands to perform alongside North Korean artists.

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