UN envoy on sports diplomacy mission in North Korea

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 July, 2013, 6:05am

A special adviser to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon landed yesterday in North Korea on a sports diplomacy mission that he said would include discussions about promoting sport for women, the disabled and the disadvantaged.

Wilfried Lemke, Ban's special adviser on sport for development and peace, is making a four-day trip in what is the highest-level UN visit in nearly two years.

It takes place in the wake of tightened UN sanctions on the impoverished country for carrying out a banned underground nuclear test in February.

Lemke said his goal was to find out more about how sport is developing in North Korea.

"I have some priorities: sport for women, sport for persons with a disability, as well as sport in conflict areas and of course, as well, sport for persons in disadvantaged villages [and] neighbourhoods," he said.

Promoting sport has been a priority for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who took power in late 2011.

Among the sites Lemke is expected to visit is a new ski resort under construction near the eastern city of Wonsan.