Volunteers to Replace Soldiers to Hoist N.Korean Flag at Olympics

Lynette Rowe
February 4, 2018

Hence, while the unified team would benefit North Korean players and North Korea's efforts to represent itself in the Olympics-and perhaps President Moon's pro-DPRK policy as well-it is the South Korean athletes that will be excluded who will have to pay the price. North Korea originally had no athletes accredited to play in the games.

North Korea is planning to stage a massive military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of its military on February 8, just one day before the Olympics' opening ceremony, South Korean officials said.

The plane will also carry South Korean non-Olympic athletes who held a joint practice at the Masikryong ski resort in the North in a gesture of goodwill. It is extremely unusual for North Koreans to travel aboard a South Korean plane, with most past visits, including the hockey players' arrival, made across the heavily fortified land border.

Many analysts say the North may want to use improved ties with South Korea to weaken US -led global pressure and sanctions on the country. But some smiled and waved their hands to journalists at the athletes' village.

"You should focus on the result and on your victory", he said during a meeting at the presidential residence outside Moscow.

Now, it appears those athletes will be competing somewhere else. The PyeongChang Olympics will be hosted by South Korea, not North Korea, and it is therefore ludicrous that there would not be a prominent, independent representation of the South Korean flag and national anthem in the ceremonies.

Today, the main part of the Belarusian Olympic teams will leave for South Korea.

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A senior USA diplomat said here Wednesday that the United States has full confidence in South Korea to host a successful and safe Winter Olympics, and "all contingencies have been addressed" regarding security concerns over the event.

They will compete under a neutral flag as "Olympic Athletes from Russia". Nam Kwang Kyu of the Maebong Unification Research Center added that, "In accordance with their broader strategy, North Korea will make an announcement about the high-level delegation when they are squarely in the center of the global spotlight in the run-up to the Olympics". This high-level delegation was first announced in a joint statement delivered at the conclusion of the first day of North-South talks at Panmunjom on January 9.

But there is still optimism among South Koreans, "who see the Games as an opening to broader political reconciliation and even worldwide talks over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programme", says Reuters.

But for the North Korean athletes, volunteers will take on the flag-hoisting duty.

Last May, the war game included a ship-to-shore air assault involving South Korea's Dokdo-class amphibious assault ship.

The Pyeongchang Olympic Village will house more than 3,500 athletes and officials in the mountain cluster, while the Gangneung Olympic Village will be the residence of more than 2,400 athletes and officials in the coastal cluster.

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