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NoKor cancels joint cultural event with SoKor before Winter Olympics



North Korea cancelled the joint cultural event with South Korea set to be held days before the 2018 Winter Olympics, according to Seoul's unification ministry on Tuesday.

North Korea sent a notice at about 10:10 p.m. local time on Monday (1310 GMT) via the restored inter-Korean hotline of direct dialogue, saying the inter-Korean joint cultural event, which the two Koreas had agreed to hold at Mount Kumgang on Feb. 4 would be called off.

South Korea and North Korea agreed upon the cultural event during the senior-level inter-Korean talks held at the truce village of Panmunjom on January 17.

Pyongyang agreed to send its athletes, cheerleaders and artists to the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games slated to run from February to March in South Korea's east county of PyeongChang.

North Korea cited negative South Korean media reports on its participation in the Winter Olympics as a key reason for the abrupt cancellation of the joint culture festival.

Conservative South Korean media outlets called the PyeongChang Olympics as the Pyongyang Olympics to criticize the Moon Jae-in government's peace efforts.

The two Koreas agreed to march together under a unified flag at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics and field a joint women's ice hockey team, the first historic Olympic team between North Korea and South Korea.

Conservative South Korean media organizations opposed the joint team and the unified flag as they claimed it could help North Korea's propaganda efforts.

The opposition was led by the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, which had favored North Korea's participation in the South Korea-hosted sports event under the presidency of impeached leader Park Geun-hye.

Xinhua / PNA