Activists rip Kim Jong Un's photo in Olympic protest

Demonstrators protested Wednesday outside Seoul’s National Assembly in opposition to South Korea’s effort to compete alongside North Korea in next month’s Winter Olympics.

North Korean defectors and anti-Pyongyang activists ripped photos of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the latest protests against South Korea's outreach to the Hermit Kingdom.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in views the preparations for the games as an opportunity to improve relations after tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program. Despite drawing verbal outburst from North Korea, the protests have yet to significantly affect preparations for the games, which will run Feb. 9-25.

A 15-member North Korean women's ice hockey team consisting of 12 players, a coach and support staff was scheduled to arrive in South Korea on Thursday to begin training with South Korean athletes for a unified team that will compete at the Olympics.

South Korea has also sent a group of officials to North Korea to inspect preparations for a joint cultural event at the North's scenic Diamond Mountain and a practice session for the countries' non-Olympic skiers at the North's Masik ski resort the Koreas plan to hold before the start of the Olympics.

Wednesday's protest at Seoul's National Assembly, led by North Korea-born activist Park Sang-hak, came days after conservative demonstrators burned Kim's photo and a North Korean flag in the streets while a North Korean delegation visited to prepare for performances by a North Korean art troupe during the Olympics. Pyongyang called the protesters “human scum,” and demanded that Seoul apologize.  

North Korea agreed earlier this month to send a delegation to the Olympics, in the first formal talks between the rivals in about two years. Its delegation at the games is to include officials, athletes, a cheering group, journalists, an art troupe and the taekwondo demonstration team.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.