Seoul mayor calls joint Korean taekwondo performances 'a sensation'

North Korean taekwondo team members display their skills at a performance in Seoul on Monday.PlayAP
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North Korea's taekwondo team finished its four-show tour in South Korea on Wednesday, and in each display performers from both nations jointly demonstrated skills that led Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon to call them "a sensation."

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The team from North Korea performed before the Olympic opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, later at a career and education center also in Gangwon Province and then twice in Seoul. Each time, the North Koreans shared the stage with their South Korean counterparts for part of the hour-long show that otherwise let each team showcase its talents separately.

"The joint taekwondo performance is creating a sensation and sending a message of hope not only in the Korean peninsula but also worldwide," Park Won-soon told local newspaper Segye Ilbo after watching a performance on Monday.

The North Korean taekwondo performers arrived Feb. 7 along with that nation's Olympic committee officials, cheerleaders, art troupes and media representatives. They stayed at a hotel in Inje, about 90 miles from Seoul. They are expected to return home on Thursday.

North Koreas taekwondo team performs leading up to opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Feb. 9.AP
North Korea's taekwondo team performs leading up to opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Feb. 9.

The elaborate martial-arts performances, which at times received less media attention than those of the cheerleaders and artists, included smashing wood and impressive self-defense techniques, the final display of which concluded at Munwha Broadcasting Corporation's concert hall.

Sharing performance time with neighbors with whom they share a border was widely considered a hint toward an improving relationship between the two nations.

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