SEOUL – North Korean criticized on Wednesday protests held by conservative groups in South Korea against the arrival of the North Korean Samjiyon orchestra in the South for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
An article titled “Spasm of psychopaths accustomed to confrontation with fellow countrymen,” published by North Korea’s official news agency KCNA, came down heavily on the protests carried out by the groups on Monday and Tuesday near Mukho Port, 185 kilometers east of Seoul.
The protests were held just before a ferry arrived at the port, carrying most of the 140 members of the orchestra, which will perform on Feb. 8 in Gangneung, an Olympic venue, and in Seoul on Feb. 11.
The protestors argued that the orchestra’s visit and the agreements signed in January between the two Koreas, allowing the North to participate in the games, act as propaganda for the Pyongyang regime.
The KCNA article said the protestors “ran around like headless chickens, barking that ‘the ship of reds came,’ ‘go back to your country’ and ‘boost the South Korea – US alliance.’”
It also denounced the protestors burning the North Korean flag and the unification flag, under which the two Koreas will march in the Olympics opening ceremony on Feb. 9.
The article also noted that “many inhabitants of various strata gave hearty welcome to the compatriots from the north even in cold weather.”
Conservative groups have repeatedly protested against North Korea’s participation in PyeongChang in the past few days. Their spokespersons have said that protests will continue during the games at the venues where North Korean athletes and artists are set to participate.
Apart from the orchestra, North Korea has sent a contingent of 22 athletes and more than 200 cheerleaders, as well as dozens of journalists and officials.
The president of North Korea’s national assembly, Kim Yong-nam, who is the highest representative of the country for the Winter Olympics, is set to arrive in South Korea on Thursday for a three-day visit, along with other political delegates.