North Korea to send 22 athletes to Games

Frederick Owens
January 22, 2018

Hyon has been the focus of intense South Korean media interest since she attended inter-Korean talks at the border Moday that reached agreement on the troupe's visit.

They were therefore handed one quota place while two male North Korean competitors were given places in the short track speed skating.

He added that South Korea president Moon Jae-in was "dancing to the tune" of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

After its latest intercontinental missile test on November 29 a year ago, North Korea claimed to have achieved full nuclear capability.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach announced the two nations would march together at the opening ceremony on 9 February.

In approving the joint hockey team, International Olympic Committee brass overruled concerns raised by some hockey federations over fairness.

Polls indicate that an overwhelming majority of South Korean people oppose forming a joint team with North Korea at the Winter Olympics next month.

Separately, the North has said it will send 550-member delegation to the Games, including cheerleaders, performers and other cultural envoys.

The hockey team will compete as "Korea", under the unification flag and using the song "Arirang" as its anthem.

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But its presence in Pyeongchang - just 50 miles south of the demilitarised zone that divides the Koreas - is a significant diplomatic coup.

The two Koreas have agreed to cooperate during the Olympics and take measures to ease the military tension on the Korean Peninsula since the beginning of the new year.

However, the organisation has admitted the intra-Korean deal has made its job more complicated.

The IOC said it would provide any necessary equipment for the athletes. In the areas of culture and the arts, it plans to pursue joint cooperation for the compilation of the "Gyeoremal-Keunsajeon" (unified Korean language) dictionary, excavation of Manwoldae Palace in the North Korean city of Kaesong, and exhibition of Korean historical assets from the Joseon and Goryo Dynasties.

The principle of solving the divided peninsula's problems internally among Koreans has been openly stated since 1972 "and is a legacy of centuries-old perceptions that Korea is a "shrimp among whales" with little control over its own destiny", said Ms Arrington.

There is precedent for fielding a joint team in global competition, including at the 1991 football under-20 World Cup, when the two Koreas competed together and even advanced to the quarter finals.

It's official: Athletes from North Korea will compete in the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha said Seoul would ensure the North's participation did not defy sanctions imposed over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons.

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