South Korea conservatives planning boycott over North Korea

By Elizabeth Shim  |  Feb. 7, 2018 at 8:43 PM
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Feb. 7 (UPI) -- South Korea's political opposition is objecting to the rapidly evolving détente between Seoul and Pyongyang and could stage a boycott on Thursday ahead of the first performance of North Korea's Samjiyon Orchestra.

The main right-wing opposition Liberty Korea Party is organizing the boycott after openly criticizing the administration of President Moon Jae-in for allowing an embargoed North Korean ferry to enter a South Korean port for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, local news service Money Today reported.

The sentiments about North Korea's participation in the South Korea-hosted Winter Games are not being shared across the political spectrum.

Choo Mi-ae, the leader of the ruling Democratic or Minjoo Party, will be attending the first performance of the North Korean musicians in Gangneung, one of the two cities hosting the Olympics in Gangwon Province.

The North Koreans are planning to begin the concert at 8 p.m. on Thursday. South Korea news network Chosun TV footage that aired late Wednesday showed the musicians arriving at Gangneung Art Center.

The decision to boycott North Korea's participation from South Korean conservatives comes after rival politicians agreed to refrain from quarreling over détente ahead of the opening ceremony for the Olympics on Friday.

But Liberty Korea's floor leader Kim Sung-tae broke with the tentative agreement and ordered party members to stage an "indefinite boycott," according to Money Today.

If the boycott takes place, party members will not be attending committee meetings or pursuing scheduled duties.

The mood in Gangneung, where anticipation has been building for the Winter Games, was optimistic as the North Korean musicians arrived at their venue for a rehearsal on Wednesday.

Local South Koreans had gathered near the site, and at least one man was heard shouting, "We are one!" as the musicians walked to the art center.

The North Koreans are planning to perform popular South Korean songs, in addition to North Korean music, according to Chosun TV.

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