Home World Asia News PyeongChang 2018: North Korea and South Korea to March Under Single Flag

PyeongChang 2018: North Korea and South Korea to March Under Single Flag

North Korea and South Korea will march together under a single “unified Korea” flag at next month’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

In rare talks at the truce village of Panmunjom, the two Koreas also agreed to field a joint women’s ice hockey team.

These are the first high-level talks between North Korea and South Korea in more than two years.

It marks a thaw in relations that began in the new year when North Korean leader Kim Jong-un offered to send a team to the games.

The games will take place between February 9 and 25 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

If the plans are realized, a hundreds-strong North Korean delegation – including 230 cheerleaders, 140 orchestral musicians and 30 taekwondo athletes – could cross into South Korea via the land border to attend the Winter Olympics.

It will mean the opening of the cross border road for the first time in almost two years.

The two Koreas have also agreed to field a joint team for the sport of women’s ice hockey. It would be the first time athletes from both Koreas have competed together in the same team at an Olympic Games.

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North Korea has also agreed to send a smaller, 150-member delegation to the Paralympics in March.

The agreement will have to be approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on January 20, because North Korea has missed registration deadlines or failed to qualify.

South Korea will also need to find ways to host the North Korean delegation without violating UN Security Council sanctions outlawing cash transfers to Pyongyang and blacklisting certain senior North Korean officials.

South Korea’s hockey coach and conservative newspapers have expressed concern about the prospect of a united hockey team, saying it could damage South Korea’s chances of winning a medal.

Tens of thousands of people are said to have signed online petitions urging South Korean President Moon Jae-in to scrap the plan.

However, the president told South Korean Olympic athletes on January 17 that North Korea’s participation in the Games would help improve inter-Korean relations.

President Moon Jae-in has said the Olympic agreement could pave the way for the nuclear issue to be addressed and lead to dialogue between North Korea and the US, according to Yonhap news agency in Seoul.