South Korea to Pay Expenses for North Korea’s Delegation at Winter Olympics

South Korea has approved a plan to pay the cost of hosting North Korea’s delegation to the Winter Olympics.

The 2.86bn Korean won ($2.64 million) will come from the South’s unification ministry budget.

A group of more than 400 North Korean supporters and performers have traveled to Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the Games. Their visit was controversial with some South Koreans who questioned the North’s commitment to reconciliation.

North Korea’s attendance at the Winter Olympics came as a surprise development after a year of increasing tensions between Pyongyang and the international community over its nuclear ambitions and repeated missile tests.

The South Korean government invited the North to join the Games saying it was a chance at dialogue and rolling back tensions. But some South Koreans have staged protests warning it would merely give the North a platform for propaganda.

The decision to integrate North Koreans into the South’s women’s ice hockey team was particularly controversial as it meant that some of the South’s athletes would get less of a chance to play.

The government funds will pay mainly for accommodation and food for Pyongyang’s cheer squad, an orchestra sent to perform on the sidelines of the Games as well as a group of taekwondo performers and supporting personnel.

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