Activists rip Kim Jong Un's photo in Olympic protest
ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 24, 2018 12:08 PM
North Korean defector Park Sang-hak tears a portrait of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a press conference against the North Korea's participation in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. A team of South Korean officials travelled to North Korea on Tuesday to check logistics for joint events ahead of next month's Winter Olympics in the South, as the rivals exchanged rare visits to each other amid signs of warming ties. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean defectors and anti-Pyongyang activists on Wednesday ripped photos of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the latest protests in Seoul against South Korea's outreach to North Korea over next month's Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
Despite drawing verbal outbursts from North Korea, the protests have yet to meaningfully affect preparations for the games, which South Korean President Moon Jae-in views as an opportunity to improve relations after tensions over the North's nuclear program.
A 15-member North Korean women's ice hockey team consisting of 12 players, a coach and support staff was scheduled to arrive in South Korea on Thursday to begin training with South Korean athletes for a unified team that will compete at the Olympics.
South Korea has also sent a group of officials to North Korea to inspect preparations for a joint cultural event at the North's scenic Diamond Mountain and a practice session for the countries' non-Olympic skiers at the North's Masik ski resort the Koreas plan to hold before the start of the Olympics.
Wednesday's protest at Seoul's National Assembly, led by North Korea-born activist Park Sang-hak, came days after conservative demonstrators burned Kim's photo and a North Korean flag in the streets while a North Korean delegation visited to prepare for performances by a North Korean art troupe during the Olympics. It drew an angry reaction from Pyongyang, which called the protesters "human scum" and demanded Seoul apologize.
North Korea agreed earlier this month to send a delegation to the Olympics, in the first formal talks between the rivals in about two years. Its delegation at the Feb. 9-25 games is to include officials, athletes, a cheering group, journalists, an art troupe and the taekwondo demonstration team.