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

Lucy Bush
January 22, 2018

North and South Korean athletes will compete on the same team at the Olympics for the first time, while the International Olympic Committee approved 22 North Koreans to compete overall in PyeongChang.

Following the meeting between the IOC and delegations from the NOC of the DPRK, the NOC of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee at the IOC headquarters today, President Bach presented the decisions of the "Olympic Korean Peninsula Declaration". The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 have opened the door for peaceful dialogue on the Korean peninsula.

South and North Korean athletes make the two sides' first joint entrance at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Bach also revealed the two nations will march together under a unified flag at the opening ceremony in PyeongChang on February 9.This was first done before in a show of peace at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.

Leading the delegation to prepare the cultural performances around the Pyeongchang games will be Hyon Song-wol, leader of the all-female western-style Moranbong band, and reputedly ex-girlfriend of Kim Jong-un.

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An IOC spokesperson confirmed that the North Korean athletes will stay in the Olympic village, quashing speculation that they may have chosen to sleep on a boat to avoid residing on Southern soil.

At least three North Korean players will feature in each match but South Korea's Canadian coach Sarah Murray will be in charge of the team.

"The stand we are taking is, we will never accept them as a nuclear power", he said.

North Korea's planned involvement in Pyeongchang is viewed as a sign of easing tensions over its nuclear and missile program.

An additional berth in the pairs figure skating was made for North Korea's Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik.

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The IOC didn't list the athletes who were accepted or rejected, but said it hadn't included any of the 43 the IOC previously banned for doping at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

The seven-member delegation was scheduled to arrive in South Korea today, but North Korea had the trip cancelled before agreeing to it again.

Some 20 countries, mostly those which joined the United States in its aggressive war against North Korea in the 1950s, participated in the meeting on January 15-16.

North Korea is due to send a delegation which will consist of around 550 members including 230 cheerleaders, 140 artists and 30 Taekwondo fighters, to South Korea on January 25.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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