South Korea’s unification ministry said Monday that North Korea’s decision to drop the event was “very regrettable,” Reuters reports. North Korea called off the event due to take place at Mount Kumgang in the North, blaming South Korean media for encouraging "insulting" public sentiment towards the North, the ministry added.
The decision comes after a recent thaw in relations between the two nations.
North and South Korea are sending a combined women’s ice hockey team to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, set to kick off on February 9. The neighboring states have also agreed to make a joint entrance under a unified Korean peninsula flag at the opening ceremony.
However, tensions have emerged in recent days as North Korea confirmed it’s rescheduling the anniversary celebrations of the foundation of its army to coincide with the eve of the Winter Olympics opening.
South Korea’s Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyun has expressed concerns Pyongyang could hold a “threatening” military parade. The North is preparing an anniversary event in Pyongyang involving “large-scale” military forces and weapons, he told Yonhap.
The event at Mount Kumgang was one of a series of events to be held in the divided Koreas ahead of the Winter games. A number of these were due to take place in South Korea, sparking concerns that they may be in violation of current UN Security Council sanctions in place against the North.
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