South Korea's unification ministry on Friday dismissed a report that North Korea has notified the global skating body of its intent to take part in the pairs figure skating competition in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.
North Korea's pairs figure skating tandem Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik in September gained qualification for next year's Winter Olympics in South Korea. A local broadcaster reported last month that North Korea expressed its intent to join the competition to the International Skating Union.
"It has been identified that the report is not true," Lee Eugene, vice spokesperson at the ministry, said at a regular press briefing.
|Lee Eugene, vice spokesperson at South Korae`s unification ministry. (Yonhap)|
Lee said that Pyongyang could participate in the PyeongChang Olympics if it expresses its intent by the end of December when qualification spots will be re-allocated.
With less than 100 days to go before South Korea's first winter Olympics, Seoul is ramping up efforts to encourage North Korea to participate in the game, which it believes will help ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Sports officials from the two Koreas are currently attending the 22nd general assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees. The two-day meeting will end Friday.
Seoul earlier voiced hope that the two Koreas could exchange views about North Korea's possible participation in the Olympics on the sidelines of the meeting. (Yonhap)