North Korea to send 22 athletes to Winter Games

Image for representational purpose only

The trip comes two weeks after the neighbours agreed to send Pyongyang's athletes, cheerleaders, artistic troupes and other delegates to the Games, due to begin in the South's alpine resort of Pyeongchang on February 9.

South Korea's Unification Ministry said on Saturday that the sudden cancellation of a North Korean delegation's planned visit to the South to prepare for the North's art troupe during the Winter Olympics was "not a permanent cancellation".

Not all South Koreans are in the mood. The two countries have held working-level talks since.

"It would have a significant meaning if the South and North show reconciliation and unity, for example through a joint march".

"We are always repeating meaningless things and isn't a country that will change easily", she said.

South Korea's head coach will take the lead, but at least three players from North Korea will join the team.

"Why are we doing this?" he asked. They will play under the Olympic code of "COR" - the French acronym for Korea - and hear the song "Arirang" as a pre-game anthem.

If conducted successfully, this will be the first such performance by North Koreans in the neighbouring nation since 2002.

He also confirmed that, for the first time in Olympic history, the two nations will enter a joint women's ice hockey team under the name Korea and represented by the unification flag.

Head of North Korean delegation Kwon Hyok Bong, center, and Hyon Song Wol, the head of the Moranbong Band, left.




Figure Skating: The IOC allocated an additional quota place, after the registration deadline had expired, to the qualified figure skating pair (RYOM Tae-ok and KIM Ju-sik) from the NOC of the DPRK.

They will also field a united women's ice hockey team.

"Isn't it amusing that the same country is now asking athletes to cut back on their playing time and embrace changes that would make them less likely to win?"

An Olympic deal became possible after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said in a New Year's speech that a team could cross the border to compete.

The North a year ago staged a nuclear test and test-fired multiple long-range missiles believed to be capable of reaching the United States mainland.

Still, many experts think Moon's government made the right move in jumping at the opportunity to resume with after almost two years of diplomatic stalemate and animosity.

It was last used in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Italy. The resumption of inter-Korean talks is crucial for the policies of Moon, who wants Seoul in the driver's seat in worldwide efforts to deal with the North Korean nuclear threat.

At the opening ceremony, the joint delegation "will be led into the Olympic stadium by the Korean unification flag" carried together by athlete from each country, the IOC said. "This is the Olympic message that will go from PyeongChang to the world". "It's not like the players wouldn't understand the historic significance of what they are involved in".

The North will separately send a 150-strong delegation to the Paralympics, Chun said.

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