IOC: Two Koreas to march together at Winter Olympics opening ceremony

President Moon Jae-in speaks in a weekly meeting with top presidential aides held at his office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Jan. 22 2018

IOC: Two Koreas to march together at Winter Olympics opening ceremony

The 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea is just weeks away from beginning and the official app for the games is available to download in Google Play.

In short track speed skating, Jong Kwang-bom in the men's 1,500 meters and Choe Un-song in the men's 500 meters will represent North Korea. Accreditations will also be given to 24 officials and 21 media representatives from the DPRK.

The IOC approves the request of the NOCs of ROK and DPRK to have their delegations marching together as one under the name "Korea" at the Opening Ceremony.

What has raised questions is that this joint team was decided at the initiative of the Moon administration without considering the wishes of the athletes that will compete at the Games.

"Did they forget North Korea had until recently been threatening to turn South Korea into a sea of fire with its nuclear weapons and missiles?" a party statement said. Seoul agreed to the visit, which was to take place on Saturday, but the North abruptly canceled it. Outside critics have dismissed Kim's overture as a tactic to use improved ties with Seoul to weaken USA -led worldwide sanctions against North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

North Korea informed South Korea that it plans to send a seven-member advance team this weekend, and that it would be led by Hyon Song Wol, head of the only girl band hand-picked by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Interestingly, a total of 12 North Korean athletes will be added to the existing South Korean Women's Ice Hockey squad to feature in a unified team. However, to maintain fairness for opponents, only 22 can suit up for each game.

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Efforts to make a show of North Korean and South Korean unity at the next Olympics are drawing a backlash in South Korea.

All others would have not qualified otherwise and have benefited from additional quota places. The IOC will also have to decide on the format of such participation, including questions related to the official protocol (flag, anthem, ceremonies, uniform, etc.).

Han Chun-gyong, Pak Il-chol and Kim Ryon-hyang will all compete in cross-country skiing events. He noted there may be difficulties in the process after a long hiatus in talks between the two sides, but said it is necessary for the South and the North to work out the kinks.

South Korea's President Moon Jae In's popularity has dipped after a series of political dust-ups and disapproval of including North Koreans in South Korean Olympic endeavors.

Earlier, the Russian Olympic Committee submitted a list of 500 athletes, seeking to take part in the upcoming Games.

"Such dialogue came dramatically, while the possibility of war again loomed".

A joint cultural event will be held at Mt Kumgang in southeast North Korea.

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