North Korea on Friday provided notice that it would not attend the CISM (Conseil International du Sport Militaire) World Games in South Korea this October.
The sporting event, dedicated to contributing to world peace by uniting armed forces through sports, is one North Korea expressed in attending last October. However, at the end of last week it provided official notice that it would not attend, and on Sunday the Ministry of National Defense (MND) confirmed its decision.
“North Korea sent a statement to CISM international, without specifying the reason for cancellation,” the spokesperson from the preparation committee for the CISM World Games Korea told NK News.
The cancellation continued a recent trend in inter-Korean relations. On Monday, South Korean media reported that Lindenbaum’s music concert at DMZ is not expected to go through due to the disapproval of both South Korea’s Ministry of Unification (MoU) and the MND.
The working-level meeting to prepare a joint event for Liberation Day – celebrated on August 15 in both Koreas – that was expected last Friday was cancelled the day before.
Lindenbaum declined to comment.
North Korea suggested negotiation via fax regarding a joint event to celebrate Liberation Day, but its state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper on Monday published an article criticizing the MoU’s position of not allowing a “political” event.
The MoU has repeated its policy, which it announced last May.
“Celebrating the historically meaningful year, the 70th year since liberation, the government will actively support various communications including culture, history and sports, in order to open the passage to recovering ethnic homogeneity (between South and North),” the press release reads.
Following this statement, the MoU on May 31 allowed the excavation of the Kaesong Manwoldae site, a palace dating back to the Koryo dynasty (918-1392).
The MoU spokesperson, however, on May 8 said that inter-Korean exchanges should be “purely for cultural and social exchanges,” not political.
Then, on June 22, North Korea emailed the Gwangju Universiad Organizing Committee and International University Sports Federation (FISU), stating it would not participate in that event, which ran from July 3-14.
And last May, the two parties could not reach an agreement on a joint event celebrating the 15th year since the 6.15 Joint Declaration reached between the two Koreas.
One expert was skeptical regarding the South Korean government’s position, which does not separate human rights issues from suggestions of dialogue.
“It is impossible to expand cultural, social exchanges without relieving political tensions,” Cheong Seong-chang, head of the Unification Strategy team at the Sejong Institute told NK News.
He also said that depicting the North’s human rights situation as worsening provokes North Korea’s sense of inferiority.
“Recently, the National Intelligence Service released information that 70 people were purged during Kim Jong Un’s regime, which is still a large number but less than in the Kim Jong Il-era, which indicates an improved human rights situation. But this kind of improvement is not highlighted, and pressure on human rights issues is increasing.”
Cheong suggested a separate role, between the South Korean government and international organizations, for suggesting dialogue and placing pressure on the human rights situation.
Join the influential community of members who rely on NK News original news and in-depth reporting.
Subscribe to read the remaining 517 words of this article.
Featured Image: Deadlock in Perth by Ninian Reid on 2014-01-04 10:42:24