North, South Korea to Have Joint Olympic Team

They will compete under unification flag
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2018 10:01 AM CST
North Korea's Olympic Plan Revealed
This 2006 photo shows a joint Korean Olympic team at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.   (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)

North and South Korea will compete together under one unified flag at next month's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, in what will be the first such arrangement since 2006. South Korea previously announced North Korea would send officials, athletes, and a cheer squad to the Olympics following talks between the two countries. It has now revealed North Korea's intention to send a 550-member delegation. Among those arriving in South Korea beginning on Jan. 25 will be female ice hockey players joining a team of South Korean athletes (they'll compete under a flag showing the Korean Peninsula in blue on a white background), as well as 230 cheerleaders, 140 orchestra members, and 30 people who will take part in a taekwondo demonstration, report Sky News and CNN.

Ahead of the Olympics, skiers from both countries will also train together in North Korea, per CNN. The thawing of relations between the North and South has drawn praise from some. But others, like Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, fear Kim Jong Un only hopes to ease international pressure while continuing to develop a nuclear weapons arsenal. "It is not the time to ease pressure, or to reward North Korea," Kono said Tuesday in Vancouver, Canada, where 20 countries met and agreed to consider tougher sanctions on the North, per Reuters. Warning countries not to be fooled by its "charm offensive," Kono added, "The fact that North Korea is engaging in dialogue could be interpreted as proof that the sanctions are working." China avoided the meeting, saying it showed a "Cold War mentality." (Read more Olympics stories.)

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