By Agence France-Presse
The UN Security Council will decide on Thursday whether to allow a North Korean official under international sanctions to travel to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics along with Kim Jong-Un’s sister, diplomats said.
South Korea presented on Wednesday a request to the council’s sanctions committee for an exemption to the travel ban imposed on Choe Hwi, chairman of North Korea’s National Sports Guidance Committee.
Choe was put on the sanctions blacklist in June last year as a senior director of the propaganda and agitation department of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party.
If no one objects to the request by 3:00 pm (2000 GMT) Thursday, the council will automatically grant the exemption to Choe to travel to the South.
Diplomats said they expected a green light from the council, where many countries are supportive of the rapprochement between North and South Korea during the Olympic Games.
In its request to the committee, South Korea said the visit “will serve as a timely opportunity to reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula and beyond by promoting an environment conducive to a peaceful, diplomatic, and political solution concerning the situation on the peninsula”, according to document obtained by AFP.
A total of 78 individuals and 54 entities are currently on the UN sanctions blacklist, hit with a global travel ban and assets freeze.
Kim Yo-Jong, the younger sister of North Korea’s leader and a senior member of the Workers’ Party, will be part of the delegation due to arrive on Friday.
The 23-member delegation will be led by North Korea’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam and also include Ri Son-Gwon, who as head of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country is responsible for inter-Korean affairs.
Aside from the four top officials, the delegation will comprise 16 support staff, South Korea told the sanctions committee.