Koreas united on Winter Olympics

Jose Verdugo
Enero 21, 2018

The North had initially planned to send a seven-member advance team headed by the leader of a popular all-female Western-style band for a two-day visit, beginning today, to inspect venues for proposed performances in Seoul and the eastern city of Gangneung.

But its presence in Pyeongchang - just 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of the demilitarised zone that divides the Koreas – is a significant diplomatic coup, especially after months that saw nuclear and missile tensions surge to new heights.

North and South Korea will march together in the opening ceremony, under a unified flag, which looks like this. The International Olympic Committee is now examining the request.

The South Korean government has agreed to the visit on Sunday, the ministry said.

The actual team of North Korean athletes could be in single figures or as many as 15.

Another official at the presidential office said that the unified team is needed for the North's participation in the Olympics, adding if North Korea changes its attitude after the Olympics, it is a problem that would be dealt with later and that South Korea will make sure such things will not happen. The International Skating Union awarded that entry to Japan, and said the IOC must approve any late entry and increase the competition quota.

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North Korea and South Korea had held a high-level meeting last week and a working-level meeting this week on North's participation in the Winter Olympics. The athletes will be accompanied by 24 coaches and officials.

"Adding somebody so close to the Olympics is a little bit risky just for team chemistry because the girls have been together for so long", South Korea coach Sarah Murray said.

The delegation is expected to begin arriving in South Korea on January 25, the statement said.

"This more targeted testing focuses on specific disciplines and nationalities that are at particular risk, as well as individual athletes and groups of athletes selected based on their ranking, and any suspicious change in performance or adverse testing history", the International Olympic Committee added.

Protocol around Korean flags, anthems and uniforms at the games also will be debated Saturday before a scheduled news conference with Bach.

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