U.S., South Korea Agree Not To Hold Joint Military Drills During Olympics
The Korean presidential office announced U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korea President Moon Jae-in agreed "not to hold joint military drills" during the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, according to Ko, Dewan & Starr of CNN. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has "long bemoaned" the joint U.S.-South Korean drills and has "often called them a direct threat to Pyongyang." The decision was announced "a day after contact between the two Koreas was initiated in a major diplomatic breakthrough after months of high tensions on the Korean Peninsula" (CNN, 1/4). BLOOMBERG's Wadhams, Kong & Capaccio reported while the White House did not immediately provide a summary of the call, Pentagon spokesperson Colonel Rob Manning appeared to confirm the decision to delay scheduled joint exercises, saying in a statement that "the Department of Defense supports the President's decision and what is in the best interest of the" U.S.-South Korean alliance (BLOOMBERG, 1/4).
N. KOREA SKIERS: YONHAP reported North Korea "may send a team of two skiers to the PyeongChang Winter Paralympic Games" if it decides to participate in the multi-winter sport event in South Korea. Kinsler Foundation Head Shin Young-soon said that Pyongyang may send two Para Nordic skiers -- Ma Yoo-cheol and Kim Jung-hyun -- to the Winter Paralympics "if the communist state decides to compete." Shin said that Ma and Kim will also compete at the World Para Nordic Skiing World Cup in Oberried, Germany, slated for Jan. 20-28 (YONHAP, 1/4).
DISTRIBUTING TICKETS: YONHAP reported Hanwha Group said that it purchased 1,400 tickets for the PyeongChang Games, which will be "distributed to foreign soldiers" studying in Seoul and the "socially disadvantaged." Hanwha held a ceremony at the Plaza Hotel in downtown Seoul, where 300 tickets were delivered to 80 foreign commissioned officers from 27 countries, who are in South Korea to study Korean, diplomacy and military science. Hanwha said that it will "also distribute the tickets to some social welfare facilities so needy people can watch PyeongChang Olympic events together with Hanwha employees" (YONHAP, 1/4).