Beijing Olympic torch relay kicks off
PYONGYANG, April 28 (Xinhua) -- The 18th leg of the Beijing Olympic
torch relay started at 10:15 am (0115 GMT) Monday in Pyongyang,
capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Kim Yong Nam, top legislator of the DPRK, handed the torch to
the first runner Park Tu Ik.
Park, 72, had scored the winner in the DPRK's 1-0 win over Italy
to send his team to the World Cup soccer quarter-finals in 1966.
Thousands of cheering people lined city streets waving flowers
and small flags as Park began the 20-kilometer relay.
The relay began at the Juche Idea Tower and will conclude at
the Kim Il-Sung Stadium.
The Olympic flame arrived in Pyongyang early Monday morning.
The special chartered plane carrying the flame landed on the
Sunan International Airport at 00:28 am local time from Seoul.
The flight, directly flying from Seoul crossing the Yellow Sea,
was a special arrangement.
Li Binghua, Executive Vice President of the Beijing Organizing
Committee of Olympic Games (BOCOG), carried the lantern of the
flame and walked off the plane, receiving the welcome from Chinese
Ambassador to DPRK Liu Xiaoming.
Upon arrival at the airport, Li and the flame received a warm
welcome by Pak Hak Seon, Chairman of the National Olympic Committee
of the DPRK, Pak Pyong Jong, first Vice-Chairman of the People's
Committee of Pyongyang.
About 1,000 of full-dressed local residents and Chinese students
in the DPRK greeted the flame in the airport, cheering and raising
banners of "Warmly Welcome Beijing Olympic Flame Arriving
in Pyongyang" and "Wish the Torch Relay in Pyongyang
a Full Success".