US Taekwondo Athletes Plan DMZ Crossing
Michael Bassett tipped us to the fact that Korean-American Taekwondo Grandmaster Jung Woo-jin is organizing an exchange trip to the DPRK with his North Korean counterparts. Jung has quietly sponsored North Korean Taekwondo demo teams in the United States before and according to his website, has been involved in North-South Taekwondo exchanges since 1991. There are some rough-cut videos on YouTube of several of these visits (here and here). But as part of the trip, he is taking a page out of the “Women Crossing the DMZ” peace walk that we reported on last month. A joint delegation is going to walk across the DMZ. Sports diplomacy has had a rough time recently; the North canceled participation of its student athletes in the 2015 Summer Universiade games in Gwangju, purportedly in protest to the opening of the new UN human rights field office in Seoul. According to Jung, North Korean officials have approved the trip and South Korean officials have said they will consider the American team’s request to enter the country upon receipt of formal request from the group. The women’s walk caught a lot of flak; it will be revealing to see whether a team of male athletes gets the same reaction.