South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, right, shakes hands with North Korean Vice Sports Minister Won Kil U during a meeting at Pyongyang Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, Tuesday, July 3, 2018. (Korea Pool via AP)

South Korean basketball players arrive for games in North

South Korean basketball teams and officials arrived on Tuesday to take part in the inter-Korean basketball match in Pyongyang.

Dozens of South Korean basketball players arrived in North Korea’s capital on Tuesday for a series of games the two Koreas hope will foster a spirit of detente generated by the recent North-South summit meetings.

The 50 players arrived in Pyongyang on two military aircraft.

South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon headed the delegation, which included 20 government officials and support staff and dozens of South Korean reporters.

North Korea’s deputy sports minister, Won Kil U, led the North’s welcoming party.

The South Korean male and female basketball players are expected to play four matches with North Koreans on Wednesday and Thursday. It was not clear whether North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would attend any of the games, but he did make a prominent appearance at a concert put on by South Korean musicians in Pyongyang earlier this year.

The exchanges are the latest result of a diplomatic outreach to the South that Kim announced during his annual New Year’s speech. That led to the North’s participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February and two summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Kim has also had three summits with China’s leader and met with U.S. President Donald Trump last month in Singapore.

Cho, the South Korean unification minister, said he felt “deeply moved” upon arrival because he could sense the change in relations in the past few months.

Related: North Korea commits to ‘complete denuclearization’

Related: US plans for dismantling NKorea nukes may face resistance

Basketball diplomacy has something of a history in North Korea.

Basketball made international headlines from Pyongyang when former NBA player Dennis Rodman arranged a game there in 2014 for Kim’s birthday.

South Korea’s Hyundai company built a basketball stadium in Pyongyang during the “Sunshine Period” of engagement between the North and South and a joint game was played there in 2003.

Two rounds of inter-Korean basketball games were held before that, in 1999.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Helicopter deployed during busy night for Campbell River Search and Rescue

Two incidents in one day ‘not rare’: CRSAR manager

Bylaw enforcement office opens in downtown Campbell River

‘Checkpoint for RCMP’ meant to increase safety

Tossin’ cars around the track at Saratoga Speedway

By Terry Guest A beautiful summer night combined with 60 race cars… Continue reading

Council reps all leave regional district meeting over pending water rate lawsuit

Campbell River and SRD facing litigation from Area D residents over water rate hikes

Marlene Wright will seek to keep her seat on council in upcoming election

‘We got a lot of good things done over the past four years, and even more started’

BC Games’ Athletes Corner: What’s your favourite pump up song?

Check out what’s playing in the earbuds of BC Summer Games athletes before they compete

BC Wildfire update on Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

Zone 6: Rugby star Maggie Banks carries family legacy to BC Games

Shawnigan Lake student and Coquitlam native following her parents to the national program

RCMP help to save goats from wildfire

The fast-approaching wildfire, sparked Thursday, forced the evacuation of five homes

VIDEO: Near drowning captured on popular B.C. river

Search and Rescue manager says the popular pastime of floating in the summer is inherently dangerous

Crosswalk vandalism leaves black mark for Cowichan as B.C. Games begin

Rainbow crosswalk defaced just days after being painted

Photo gallery: BC Games Day 1

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

UPDATED: Anti-pipeline campers digging in as eviction deadline expires

The City of Burnaby had ordered the Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters out for violating bylaws

Trump was taped talking of paying Playboy model: AP source

Source says former personal lawyer Michael Cohen secretly recorded discussion prior to 2016 election

Most Read