Korea | Pyongyang cancels pre-Olympic joint cultural event

Shannon Miller

The Tisdale-born and Melfort-raised Shannon Miller was the Canadian Women’s Olympic hockey team coach in the 1998 Winter Olympic in Nagano Japan

The upcoming celebrations coincide with joint efforts by both North and South Korea to improve relations through the Winter Olympics.

A ministry official confirmed that a delegation of 45 skiers, officials and reporters from the South would travel to the North that day for a two-day training session, as initially planned.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport is due to announce its verdict on 39 Russian athletes appealing against lifetime Olympics bans at 08:00 GMT on Thursday.

Olympic events in North Korea the countries had agreed to.

North Korea late Monday scrapped a joint cultural event in the North, citing unspecified negative media reports in the South.

The U.S. State Department voiced displeasure on Wednesday over North Korean plans to stage a military parade on the eve of the Winter Olympics, but it assured Americans going to the games that South Korea's security plan considered all contingencies.

North Korea's army has scaled back annual winter military exercises this year, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing unidentified USA officials familiar with intelligence reports.

Previously, the organizers said tickets for the men's singles figure skating competition, mixed doubles curling events and South Korea's women's ice hockey games are close to being sold out.

Seoul and Washington are believed to have agreed the chartered Asiana Airlines plane transporting the Korean athletes won't be subject to USA sanctions, News 1 reported.

The South Korean government described the decision as "very regrettable". The visit earlier this month of a prominent band leader to inspect artistic venues in the South was delayed by North Korea but eventually took place.

Other conciliatory gestures the Koreas have agreed to hold during the Olympics include a joint march under a "unification" flag during the February 9 opening ceremony and fielding a unified team in women's ice hockey.

The Koreas' current reconciliation mood followed a year of heightened animosities over North Korea's nuclear program.

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