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UN Permits North Korean Officials to Visit South Korea


A volunteer takes pictures of a large banner at the Olympic Park ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Feb. 7, 2018.

The United Nations has given approval for a high-level North Korean delegation to travel to South Korea for the Olympics, granting an exemption on sanctions against the repressive regime.

The exemption directly affects Choe Hwi, a senior leader of the North Korean Workers' Party, who has been on the U.N. sanctions blacklist since June 2, 2017, and is subject to a travel ban and asset freeze.

South Korea's U.N. mission told a Security Council committee that the 22-member delegation was expected to attend the opening ceremonies Friday and stay until Sunday.

The delegation will include North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, who is blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury Department but not the U.N.

The U.N. exemption will also allow the North Korean delegation to take home luxury goods whose import is banned.

South Korea requested the exemption, telling the U.N. committee in a letter that the visit "will serve as a timely opportunity to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula and beyond."

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