Koreas to march under unification flag at Winter Olympics

A South Korean soldier left and a police officer stand as vehicles carrying the South Korean delegation pass near Unification Bridge which leads to the Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone in Paju South Korea Wednesday Jan. 17 2018. South Korean del

North and South Korea will march under one flag as their first joint Olympic team ompetes in the winter games next month. Kim Jong Un's wife, Ri Sol Ju, was a member of a 2005 squad. The last time they marched together was at the Asian Winter Games in 2007. But the joint news statement said that the final number would be determined in Switzerland on Saturday, when the International Olympic Committee is to bring together North and South Korean officials.

Pyongyang will send its press corps to cover the activities by its athletes, cheerleaders and the demonstration team of Taekwondo.

Though most South Koreans disagree with inserting politics into sports, some say fostering peace would be a better prize than a gold medal.

The two Koreas have sent joint teams to major worldwide sports events twice previously, both in 1991.

A pair of North Korean figure skaters qualified for this year's Olympics, but North Korea missed a deadline to confirm their participation. The North earlier said it would send a 140-member art troupe.

Both China and Russian Federation have signed on to the most recent round of sanctions against North Korea, led by the United Nations Security Council.

Such efforts have sometimes led to breakthroughs.




This is not the first time two Korean states have tried to negotiate sending a unified team to the Olympics. In fact, they have teamed up nine other times, including the Summer Olympics in 2000 and 2004 and the Winter Olympics in 2006.

According to Yonhap news agency, Murray told reporters on Tuesday that adding players so close to the Games "is a little bit unsafe just for team chemistry because the girls have been together for so long".

"We can only take 23 players to the Olympics, and they thought these North Koreans are going to come in and take our spots", South Korean women's hockey head coach Sarah Murray told Reuters. The International Olympics Committee (IOC) would need to approve the countries' agreements, and those that affect competition, such as the joint hockey team, could be more complicated than the ceremonial proposals. DPRK Today said: "At the talks both sides had a honest discussion on the practical matters related to the performances by the north side's art troupe to be dispatched to the south side's area with the 23rd Winter Olympics as an occasion".

The source said Mattis made the remark at a welcome dinner in Vancouver on Monday for the foreign ministers and other officials from the countries including Japan, South Korea and nations that backed the South in the 1950-1953 Korean War.

The games will take place between 9 and 25 February in Pyeongchang in South Korea. But the talks collapsed and the North bombed a South Korean passenger jet in 1987 in an attempt to disrupt the games in the South.

But he later said he suspected Russian Federation may not only be failing to implement some sanctions but "frustrating" some of the effort to press the North.

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