Kim Jong Un not present at friendly basketball game with South

By Wooyoung Lee  |  July 5, 2018 at 6:05 AM
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SEOUL, July 5 (UPI) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, known to be an avid basketball fan, didn't appear at the North-South friendly basketball games on Thursday as North and South Korean players continued their second day of the match.

"Chairman Kim suggested that I should come here to meet South Korean players and delegations. The chairman is on his inspection tour in local provinces ," said Kim Yong Chol, Kim's top aide, at his meeting with South Korea's Unification Minister Cho Myung-gyon, according to pool reports. Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea, has been a key figure in talks and negotiations with South Korea and the United States.

South Korean athletes played against the North Korean men and women's teams on Thursday. On Wednesday, North and South Korean players were grouped together into two teams named "Peace" and "Prosperity," according to Yonhap.

The players held a set of four matches from Wednesday to Thursday.

The games were held at Rugyong Jong Ju Young Gymnasium, a sports arena named after the late founder of South Korea's Hyundai Group. Jong was the first South Korean businessman to travel to North Korea in 1989.

The friendly basketball game was the first held in 15 years since the last basketball match between the North and South Korea in 2003.

At the North-South summit in April, Kim Jong Un suggested to South Korean President Moon Jae-in that he would like to invite South Korean basketball players to play with North Korean players.

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