South Korea has approved its labor workers’ visit to North Korea for an inter-Korean friendly football
competition in Pyongyang this month, the Unification Ministry said Tuesday.
The labor unions of the two Koreas have agreed to hold the football event starting Wednesday to run until Saturday in the North Korean capital city, according to the South’s Federation of Korean Trade Unions and the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions.
It will be the first friendly football match between labor workers from the two Koreas in eight years. Previously, they vied in 1999 and 2007.
Upon the Seoul government’s approval, a total of 162 workers from Seoul’s major labor unions will fly to North Korea on Wednesday and from the communist country right after the end of the occasion, according to a ministry official.
The size of the delegation is the largest for an inter-Korean event since Seoul imposed sanctions on the North in May 2010 after the North’s deadly attack of the South’s warship Cheonan.
“The match is meant purely for sporting exchanges, and we’ve seen circumstances of proactive private-level exchanges between the two countries since August,” the official said, explaining reasons for the approval.
Last month, the labor unions from the two Koreas agreed to play football together and promote cross-border exchanges in the private sector, and they have settled on the schedule earlier this month. (Yonhap)