IOC says North Korea to have 22 athletes in 5 Olympic sports

Ruben Hill
January 23, 2018

The two nations also agreed to march together at an opening ceremony under a unification flag-a pale blue silhouette of the Korean peninsula-and to form a joint women's ice hockey team.

After her visits to potential venues for North Korean performances in an eastern city, Hyon arrived back Monday at the Seoul railway station where she saw about 150 to 200 activists protesting her visit and recent inter-Korean rapprochement deals.

An advance team from the North is touring the South's facilities as a 140-member art troupe is set to perform in South Korea next month.

After the talks, North Korea said Hyon would also lead the Samjiyon art troupe, whose performances would be the first by a North Korean group in South Korea since 2002.

After Hyon and her fellow delegates made their onward journey from Seoul Station, police officers stepped in to extinguish the flames rising around the banner featuring Kim Jong-un, whose image is revered in the North.

Bach is flanked by North Korean Sports Minister and Olympic Committee President Kim Il-guk (left), and South Korean Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Do Jong-hwan. Its members in short skirts and high heels or stylish military uniforms sing and dance odes to Kim.

North Korea is developing missile and nuclear technology amid regular threats to destroy the United States and Japan and in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, prompting a war of words between the North and the United States.

"We must get South-North Korean talks developed into talks between North Korea and the United that we can resolve the North Korean nuclear issue peacefully", Moon said in a meeting with aides, according to his office.

Hyon's arrival came hours after the International Olympic Committee allowed 22 North Korean athletes to take part in the Olympics in exceptional entries given to the North.

The deals on a unified hockey team and the use of the joint flag have caused a heated debate in South Korea, reflecting changes in public views toward North Korea in recent years.

The current mood of reconciliation between the Koreas began after North Korean leader Kim expressed his willingness to improve ties and send a delegation to the Olympics during his annual New Year's address. Critics believe he may try to leverage the Olympics to weaken US -led worldwide pressure and sanctions toughened due to North Korea's prolonged program of nuclear tests and missile launches. Her delegation had been expected in South Korea on Saturday, but North Korea canceled that plan on Friday night before it proposed a two-day trip starting Sunday.

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Other reports by Click Lancashire

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