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S.Korean President witnesses test of home-grown missile

North Korea put a temporary moratorium on its nuclear and uranium programs in February 2012 in return for food aid from the US, but the deal came apart two months later when North Korea launched a rocket to put a satellite into orbit.A 36-person delegation of the North Korean-led International Taekwondo Federation will arrive in Seoul by plane via Beijing on Friday and is scheduled to stay until July 1, the ITF and the South Korea’s Ministry of Unification said Thursday.Over the decades since the peninsula was divided, dozens of North Korean soldiers have fled to the South through the Demilitarised Zone, which extends for two kilometers either side of the actual border.The U.S. stations about 28,500 troops in South Korea as a deterrent against North Korea. The federation was recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the official governing body for taekwondo after the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games and became an official medal sport in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.The upcoming taekwondo event is expected to be the largest world championship of the sport, indigenous to Korea, to date, with a record number of 971 athletes from 183 nations registered to compete.The organization said it officially launched its new name, logo, and brand a day before Saturday’s kickoff of the 23rd World Taekwondo Championships in Muju County, South Korea.The championships, which will feature a performance by the North Korean taekwondo demonstration team, mark the first sports exchange between the Koreas since the liberal Moon took office in May.In 2012 a North Korean soldier walked unchecked through rows of electrified fencing and surveillance cameras, prompting Seoul to sack three field commanders for a security lapse. The South Korean sports minister has proposed forming a joint women’s ice hockey team as a show of Korean unity.Participation in Pyeongchang could “provide a turning point for the reconciliation between the South and North”, Moon said.In the United States, public anger at the repressive Kim Jong Un state has increased following the recent tragic death of Otto Warmbier, an American student who was arrested in North Korea and remained in custody for over a year, despite suffering a serious injury that sent him into a coma.Moon’s visit was aimed as a warning against North Korean provocations, the spokesman said.But in South Korea public support for engagement with North Korea is increasing.