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(Olympics) N. Korea declines to accept conditional handout of Samsung phone

All Headlines 22:32 February 08, 2018

By Kang Yoon-seung

GANGNEUNG, South Korea, Feb. 8 (Yonhap) -- North Korean athletes participating in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics declined to accept Samsung smartphones, which were offered under condition of returning them after the competition, a source said Thursday.

Samsung Electronics has provided some 4,000 units of the Galaxy Note 8 Olympic Edition to all athletes and International Olympic Committee officials visiting PyeongChang, except to those from North Korea and Iran, countries which are under international sanctions.

United Nations' sanctions ban providing the countries with luxury goods or devices that can potentially be used for military purposes.

Amid controversy over unequal treatment, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) finally decided to hand out the smartphones to North Koreans and Iranians under condition that they return the devices after the Winter Games, a source with the knowledge of the matter said.

The source said Iranian athletes accepted the offer, while North Koreans declined to receive smartphones under the conditions.

"North Korea and Iran were earlier denied handouts of Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 Olympic Edition as they are under U.N. sanctions, but the IOC later decided to give it to them in consideration of equality," the source said. "It was under the condition that they return the devices later."

There are 22 North Korean and four Iranian athletes at the 2018 Winter Games.

An official from Samsung Electronics said the company is not involved with the details of the handout.

The Galaxy Note 8 is the latest flagship smartphone released by Samsung, boasting the signature S Pen stylus and a dual-lens camera setup. The price tag of a 64-gigabyte Galaxy Note 8 normally sits at around 1.09 million won (US$1,045) in South Korea.

(Olympics) N. Korea declines to accept conditional handout of Samsung phone0

colin@yna.co.kr
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