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S.Korea asks U.N. to allow sanctioned N.Korea official to attend Olympics

UNITED NATIONS - South Korea asked the United Nations on Wednesday for an exemption to allow a sanctioned North Korean official to attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics on Friday with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's younger sister Kim Yo Jong.

Pyongyang told Seoul that Choe Hwi, chairman of the National Sports Guidance Committee, would travel to Pyeongchang as part of its delegation led by Kim Yong Nam, North Korea's nominal head of state, Seoul's Unification Ministry said on Wednesday.

South Korea asked the UN Security Council's North Korea sanctions committee for an exemption to allow Choe to travel. The committee operates by consensus. If no objections are raised by any of the 15 members by Thursday afternoon, then the request will be approved.

While Choe is the only member of the North Korean delegation blacklisted by the Security Council, South Korea asked the sanctions committee for broad approval to host the entire high-level delegation from Pyongyang between Feb. 9 and 11, according to the request seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

South Korea's mission to the United Nations wrote in the request that the visit "will serve as a timely opportunity to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula and beyond by promoting an environment conducive to a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution concerning the situation on the Peninsula."

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