N. Korea's Olympic Delegation Head: Man Blamed for Deaths

2010 attack killed 46 South Korean sailors
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2018 8:43 AM CST
Kim Yong Chol leaves military talks with South Korea in Paju, South Korea, in 2007.   (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, Pool, File)

(Newser) – South Korea is about to host a man blamed for the killing of 46 of its citizens as part of the closing ceremonies for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Kim Yong Chol—who formerly led the North Korean military intelligence agency blamed for the deadly 2010 attack on South Korean ship Cheonan—will lead the North Korean delegation at the closing ceremonies Sunday as vice-chairman of the ruling Workers' Party’s Central Committee and head of the United Front Department in charge of inter-Korean affairs, Reuters reports. "We're accepting him as we believe it would help improve inter-Korean relations and resolve the matter of denuclearization," South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon says.

The eight-person delegation led by Kim is to arrive by road on Sunday. During a three-day stay, the group will meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in to discuss a potential summit with Kim Jong Un, reports the New York Times. Ivanka Trump will also meet with Moon while in the country to lead the US delegation. An administration official tells Reuters there are no plans for her to meet with North Korean officials—an expert on North Korea says the delegation would fear being overshadowed by Trump—but the Times describes the "possibility of a chance encounter." Mike Pence was to meet with North Korean officials during an earlier visit to the Olympics. But the meeting was called off at the last minute.

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