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New venue announced for N. Korean taekwondo demonstration team's S. Korean performance

All News 16:38 June 19, 2017

SEOUL, June 19 (Yonhap) -- A new venue for an upcoming performance in South Korea by a North Korean taekwondo demonstration team was announced on Monday.

The North Korea-led International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) will bring a demonstration team to South Korea for the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) World Taekwondo Championships in Muju, some 240 kilometers south of Seoul. The ITF's team is scheduled to perform during the event's opening and closing ceremonies on June 24 and 30 with a WTF team.

The ITF's team was also set to perform at Kukkiwon, also known as the world taekwondo headquarters, in Seoul on June 28. But the WTF said the performance will instead take place on Kyung Hee University's Global Campus in Yongin, some 50 kilometers south of Seoul.

In this photo provided by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) on May 12, 2015, demonstration teams of the WTF and the North Korea-lead International Taekwondo Federation pose for pictures after their joint performance during the opening ceremony of the 2015 WTF World Taekwondo Championships in Chelyabinsk, Russia. (Yonhap)

No reasons were given for the change. The ITF's delegation will instead attend a luncheon hosted by Kukkiwon on July 27 and tour its facilities afterward.

The ITF's performers will also have a show in Jeonju, a neighboring city of Muju in North Jeolla Province, on June 26.

The WTF, headquartered in Seoul with South Korean Choue Chung-won at the helm, is the official world governing body of taekwondo, as sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The ITF, based in Vienna, is recognized by the North Korean government and is headed by North Korean Ri Yong-son.

This will be the ITF's first visit to South Korea since April 2007. An ITF demonstration team has never before performed at a WTF event taking place in South Korea.

The ITF's delegation of 36 will include Ri and Chang Ung, former ITF chief and the North's only IOC member. The 12 performers -- 10 men and two women -- are all from North Korea. They're scheduled to arrive in South Korea via Beijing on Friday and leave the country on July 1.

The WTF is expected to seek a reciprocal visit to Pyongyang in September when the ITF will organize its own world championships.

The two bodies signed a landmark agreement in August 2014, detailing plans for exchanges of each organization's demonstration teams.

They held their first joint performance during the opening ceremony of the 2015 WTF worlds in Chelyabinsk, Russia.


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