SEOUL, July 3 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's male and female basketball teams left for Pyongyang on Tuesday for friendly matches with players of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Seoul's unification ministry said.
Two South Korean military transport planes, carrying the basketball and government delegations, flew to Pyongyang from an airport outside of Seoul at about 10 a.m. local time (0100 GMT). It would use the western direct route.
The delegations were composed of 50 male and female basketball players, five government delegates, 15 supporting government staffs, 10 reporters, 20 camera journalists and one sportscaster.
The friendly basketball matches, the first in 15 years between the two sides, will be held four times from Wednesday to Thursday. The delegations are scheduled to come to Seoul Friday.
Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, who led the delegations, told local reporters before heading to Pyongyang, that he anticipated the friendly matches to be an opportunity for advancing peace on the Korean Peninsula further.
Cho said the matches will be held as part of efforts to implement the Panmunjom Declaration, which South Korean President Moon Jae-in and top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un signed after their first summit meeting on April 27 at the border village of Panmunjom.
Under the Panmunjom Declaration, the two leaders agreed to strengthen inter-Korean cooperation and exchanges.