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North Korea Applies to Participate in Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympics

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North Korea's Rim Ju Song (c.) sits in his wheelchair during the team's welcoming ceremony at the London 2012 Paralympic games. The nation has reportedly applied to participate in the 2018 Pyeongchang Paralympics. Photo: Alastair Grant/AP

North Korea has applied to take part in the Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Games, reports have claimed.

South Korea’s Foreign Minister, Kang Kyung-wha, said that the North had submitted a document to the International Paralympic Committee in May, according to Yonhap.

She claimed during a parliamentary audit in Seoul that North Korea sent the letter to show its intention to compete at the Games in the South in May.

It comes at a time of high tension on the Korean peninsula.

An official with the IPC told Yonhap that it is still uncertain if North Korea will actually compete, however.

He said the secretive state has not made further moves to visit Pyeongchang after sending its message.

North Korean athletes would likely need wildcards to compete in Pyeongchang due to not qualifying automatically.

North Korea has reportedly not registered any athletes with the IPC and the country has never competed at an edition of the Winter Paralympics before.

The IPC could discuss the issue with South Korean officials next week, with IPC President Andrew Parsons due to visit Pyeongchang on Monday (October 16) to assess preparations for the Games in March.

Sporting officials are hopeful that Pyeongchang 2018 can be a vehicle for peace between North and South Korea.

A series of missile tests by the North, and strained rhetoric with the United States, have led to security fears.

North Korean figure skaters Tae Ok Ryom and Ju Sik Kim booked their place at the Pyeongchang Olympic Games last month.

By Declan McSweeney

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz

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