North and South Korea

Image for representational purpose only

The North Korean athletes will compete in ice-hockey, figure skating, speed skating, cross country skiing and alpine skiing.

Twenty-two North Koreans will participate at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in three sports and five disciplines, it has been approved at a four-party meeting here today.

But the DPRK's presence in Pyeongchang, just 80 kilometers south of the demilitarized zone that divides north and south, will prove historic, as it will be the first time the two Koreas compete as one. IOC officials are to meet with sports and government officials from the two Koreas and officials from the Pyeongchang organizing committee in Switzerland on Saturday.

The IOC must sign off on the deal agreed Wednesday, including both teams marching together under a Korean unification flag in the February 9 opening ceremony and fielding a united women's ice hockey team.

Referring to a detailed peace-making agreement between the rival countries announced Wednesday by South Korea's Unification Ministry, including a joint team in the women's hockey tournament, Adams said it was "great ... but these are discussions".

The countries also agreed to hold a joint cultural event at the North's scenic Diamond Mountain and a training session between non-Olympic skiers at the North's Masik ski resort ahead of the Olympics.

The unified ice hockey team will be made up of the 23 members of South Korea's existing team and 12 North Korean skaters.

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"Such an agreement would have seemed impossible only a few weeks ago", International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach said in Lausanne, Switzerland.

North Korea rescinded its decision to send a team of inspectors to South Korea over the weekend to check local facilities for two orchestra concerts next month, South Korean media reported.

A multimedia projection performance for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics is projected on the facade of the Gwanghwamun Gate in Seoul. Her delegation had been expected in South Korea on Saturday, but North Korea canceled that plan on Friday night before it proposed a two-day trip starting Sunday. "History tells us a very bitter lesson about North Korea".

“There are many considerations with regard to the impact of these proposals on the other participating (nations) and athletes”, an International Olympic Committee spokesman said this week. Officials from both Korea's used a cross-border hotline to quickly reschedule the visit.

Even so, the North will add security officials to the delegation whose job it will be to monitor the athletes, who will be aware that their families in North Korea will be at risk if they attempt to flee.

Many in South Korea are also opposed to the idea, accusing their president, Moon Jae-in, of sacrificing Olympic ideals for diplomatic expediency.

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