Two Koreas Agree on Joint Entry, Single Ice Hockey Team at Olympics
The two Koreas have agreed to march together under a unified flag at the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and field a joint women’s ice hockey team.
They are among the eleven points agreed upon during working-level talks held at the Panmunjeom border village on Wednesday.
Under the agreement, South and North Korea will also hold a joint cultural event at North Korea's Mount Geumgang ahead of the Olympics, while skiers from both countries will attend joint training sessions at a North Korean ski resort.
To prepare for the joint events, a group of South Korean officials will make a three-day visit to the North to check related facilities from Tuesday.
During the vice ministerial talks, the North also agreed to send a taekwondo demonstration team consisting of around 30 athletes for performances in PyeongChang and Seoul.
The North also plans to send 230 cheerleaders who will team up with South Koreans for joint cheering activities.
An agreement was also made on how the North Korean delegation will travel to the South. Officials, athletes, cheerleaders, the taekwondo team and reporters will travel on an overland route near the west coast.
The North Koreans will travel in two groups, with the athletes arriving first on February first and the rest following on the 7th.
The North will dispatch an advance team to the South for a three-day visit from Thursday to check facilities that will be used by the North Korean delegation. Pyongyang is also sending a 150-member delegation to the Paralympic Games including athletes, performing artists and journalists.
This will be the third time for the two Koreas to field a joint team at an international event. But it's the first time they will do so at the Olympics.
The Korean Unification flag, which is a white flag with a blue map of the Korean Peninsula, was first agreed by the two Koreas to be used at the 1990 Beijing Asian Games. But the two sides eventually failed to form a joint team that year.
The flag was first used during the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships and has been since used several times when the two Koreas marched together at the opening ceremonies of major sporting events, including at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and the 2007 Winter Asian Games in China.
The goal of realizing a “peace Olympics” in PyeongChang is believed to be nearly accomplished. The agreements regarding the Olympics are hoped to lead to a wider range of inter-Korean reconciliations and possibly to denuclearization.