Published: Sun, January 21, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

IOC announce North Korea to send 22 athletes to Winter Olympic Games

IOC announce North Korea to send 22 athletes to Winter Olympic Games

In addition, the International Olympic Committee confirmed they will allow a unified women's ice hockey team - featuring players from North and South Korea - to participate, in a first for the Olympics.

The two Koreas have been exchanging communication under the name of South Korean Minister of Unification Cho Myoung-gyon and chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country (CPRC) Ri Son Gwon.

In addition, the North has offered to send another eight-member advance team to South Korea this coming Thursday to look at Olympics facilities, including the stadium and accomodations.

As a result, both Koreas agreed to march together under the flag of "Korean Unification" at the inaugural ceremony of the event on February 9 and the sending of 230 cheerlleaders and the transfer by land to South Korea.

While Moon has acknowledged to the South Korean players that this would place an extra burden on them, he insisted that a joint team competing at the Olympics would become a historic moment.

The North Korean delegation will also include 24 coaches and officials, plus 21 media representatives at the Games.

"This is the Olympic message that will go from Pyeongchang to the world".

Hyon, better known as the leader of the North's all-female Moranbong Band, smiled but made no comment to reporters at Seoul Station.

Figure skating pair Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik qualified in September, but the North missed the October 30 deadline to register them.

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South Korea's Ministry of Unification on Saturday requested an explanation, and informed the North that Seoul intends to follow the plans agreed to in the high-level talks.

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

There "are dishonest things seriously chilling the dramatic atmosphere for the north-south reconciliation created by the great magnanimity and the initiative steps taken" by the North, the news agency said, urging South Korean authorities to address the problem.

The North has yet to respond to the South Korean proposal to send a 12-member delegation to the North on Tuesday to inspect preparations for the events.

Hyon Song-wol, head of a North Korean delegation, arrives at Seoul Station on January 21, 2018.

Turnbull said the visit to the Narashino training camp was a reminder of the big threats in the region, "terrorism on the one hand, and, of course, the reckless regime in North Korea on the other".

"As of today, the original pre-registration pool of 500 athletes has already been reduced by 111 by the Panel", the International Olympic Committee said in a statement.

The idea of forming a joint women's ice hockey team had stirred controversy in South Korea and participating nations.

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