June 23 (UPI) -- North Korean athletes and sports officials were welcomed to South Korea on Friday in a rare event that will allow the North Korean taekwondo team to compete in the World Taekwondo Federation world championships on Saturday.
Chang Ung, the sole North Korean member of the International Olympic Committee, joined the International Taekwondo Federation, and its president Ri Yong Son, a North Korean taekwondo master.
The ITF includes 32 North Korean nationals out of a total 36 delegates, Yonhap reported.
South Korea is subsidizing the North Koreans' stay, as it did more than two years ago, using money from an inter-Korea cooperation fund.
Seoul's unification ministry said Friday more than $61,000 was provided in support from the "South-North Cooperation Fund" for the "North Korean taekwondo demonstration team," including airfare and accommodation expenses.
During the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, Seoul provided more than $400,000 in financial support to visiting North Korean athletes for their stay.
In April, however, prior to the election of progressive President Moon Jae-in, South Korea did not fund the stay of the North Korean women's ice hockey team.
The North Korean team also left the South after the tournament after reportedly rejecting South Korean gifts, hand-carved pine wood key chains.
The wood was sourced from a local forest and included symbols of winter sports.
The North Korean taekwondo team is expected to stay in the South for nine days.
They will participate in four events in Seoul and in regional cities. North and South Koreans are expected to stage a joint performance during the championships.