North Korea has responded negatively to a Seoul-based world taekwondo governing body's plan to send its demonstration team to Pyongyang next month, a sports official said Friday.
The official from the World Taekwondo (WT) said it received a letter on Saturday from the North Korea-led International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) World Championships, which expressed a negative opinion about having the WT team in Pyongyang admid the current situation.
"Separately with the ITF World Championships organizing committee, we've sent an e-mail to the ITF headquarters for its opinion on the issue," the official said. "We're currently waiting for the ITF's answer at this moment."
The WT, previously known as the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), is sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee. The ITF, based in Vienna, is recognized by the North Korean government.
This year's ITF World Championships are slated for Sept. 17-21 in Pyongyang.
Under the plan, the WT's demonstration team was scheduled to perform on Sept. 17 at the opening ceremony of the ITF World Championships.
When ITF's North Korean President Ri Yong-son visited South Korea in June for the WT's world championships in Muju, North Jeolla Province, with the ITF demonstration team, he and the WT's South Korean chief Choue Chung-won agreed to have the WT demonstration team perform at the ITF World Championships in Pyongyang in September.
However, with tensions on the Korean Peninsula rising with series of North Korea's missile tests and threats, the WT demonstration team's Pyongyang performance is apparently in danger of being canceled. The situation is also casting a shadow on their joint performance at the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games south of border in 2018. The two sides reportedly reached a verbal agreement on the joint performance and were planning to sign the deal in Pyongyang next month.
The WT and the ITF signed a landmark agreement in August 2014, titled "Protocol of Accord," which outlined areas of mutual cooperation. Based on that agreement, the ITF sent its delegation to the WT's world championships in May 2015 and June 2017. (Yonhap)