SEOUL, South Korea, Feb. 4 (UPI) — North Korea plans to send members of its cultural delegation to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on a ferry, amid concerns that travel by sea could curb international sanctions on the regime.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry Spokesman Baik Tae-hyun said Monday that the North notified the South it would dispatch the Mangyongbong-92 to transport members of its arts troupe and also provide accommodation during their stay in the South.
The ship traveled to the South in 2002 for the Asian Games in Busan, carrying the North’s cheering squad for the sporting event.
However, Seoul’s independent sanctions imposed on Pyongyang in 2010 ban North Korean ships from entering South Korean ports.
Baik said South Korea is considering making an exception for the Mangyongbong’s arrival in order to hold a successful Pyeongchang Olympics.
While the Mangyongbong is not blacklisted by the United Nations Security Council, the spokesman said that Seoul will closely consult with the United States and the international community in order to ensure U.N. sanctions are not violated.
The 140-member arts troupe will stage a musical performance in the eastern city of Gangneung on Thursday.
Another concert will be held on Sunday in Seoul’s National Theater of Korea before the delegation returns to Pyongyang on Feb. 12.