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N.K. leader Kim unlikely to attend inter-Korean basketball event

All Headlines 11:02 July 05, 2018

SEOUL, July 5 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is unlikely to attend inter-Korean friendly basketball matches scheduled for Thursday, a senior Pyongyang official said.

"The chairman is currently giving an on-site guidance, so it is likely that he might not attend today's matches," United Front Department head Kim Yong-chol told South Korea's delegation. "He asked me to go instead to meet (you)."

He was expected to take part in the two-day event given that he is known to be an avid fan of basketball. On Wednesday, when the two games with teams comprised of a mix of South and North Korean players were held, he was not seen among the attendees.

"(He) watched the games yesterday on TV," the official said.

The two Koreas plan to hold two more friendly matches on Thursday in which South Korean players will compete with their North Korean rivals.

This marked the first time in about 15 years that the two Koreas have arranged friendly basketball matches.

The event was arranged after high-level officials from the two Koreas met in June to discuss sports exchanges in line with the spirit of the April 27 summit, where their leaders promised to expand cross-border exchanges and contacts.

South Korea sent a 100-strong delegation led by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon. It includes dozens of male and female basketball players, government officials, staff members and journalists.

The delegation is to return home on Friday.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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