North Korean singers, dancers and musicians will perform in South Korea a day before the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games begin.
“The North seems to be planning major events as the regime marks the 70th anniversary of its founding this year, and its leader Kim Jong-un apparently wants to show his absolute power”, Cho said.
Pyongyang issued the statement through the state-run Korean Central News Agency amid an annual conference of governmental officials, political parties and organizations.
On Tuesday, the North announced it would change the foundation day of its army from April 25 to February 8 and hold “diverse events” to mark the special occasion, without specifying what they were.
North Korea is expected send its largest-ever sports delegation to the South, encompassing athletes, cheerleaders, an art troupe and a taekwondo demonstration team, for the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, 180 kilometers east of Seoul.
They also inspected facilities on Mount Kumgang for a joint cultural event and the Kalma Airport to see whether the airport can be used to fly in non-Olympic South Korean skiers to the North Korean ski resort.
The unification call is likely to be treated with extreme scepticism in the South, where there is much ambivalence about the growing closeness between the two countries, which were divided at the end of the Korean War in 1953 and which have never signed a peace treaty with each other.
It also comes as the North has been stepping up its verbal attacks on the United States for what it claims is an effort to ruin an easing of tensions between Pyongyang and Seoul ahead of the Olympics.
Wearing padded team jackets against the cold-emblazoned “DPR Korea”, the North’s official name-the 12 athletes crossed the land border near Kaesong.
This will be the first time that the two Koreas field a joint team at a multi-sport competition.
Commerce has allegedly flowed in both directions, with Reuters reporting previous year that Russian vessels had sustained an economic “lifeline” to North Korea by supplying the country with fuel. “We told them this should not happen”.
“I am glad that the North and the South have got together to compete”, reports cited the North’s coach Pak Chol Ho as saying.