Majority of S.Koreans oppose unified Olympic team

22 January, 2018, 02:24 | Author: Marie Harrington
  • Majority of S.Koreans oppose unified Olympic team

In the agreement approved on Saturday, 12 North Korean women's hockey players will join their neighbours in a united roster playing in special uniforms, and with a Korean song as their anthem.

On Saturday, a four-party meeting between North, South Korea, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and organizing committee of the 2018 Olympics took place in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

North Korea will send a delegation to South Korea on Sunday to prepare for a trip by an art troupe during next month's Winter Olympics, pushing the visit back a day after earlier cancelling it, South Korea's Unification Ministry has said.

Officials from both Korea's used a cross-border hotline to reschedule the visit.

Paik Hak-soon, the director of the Center for North Korean studies at Sejong Institute in South Korea, said North Korea was using the cheering squad to draw attention to its apparent cooperative spirit.

The reconciliation mood between the Koreas began after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said in a New Year's speech that he was willing to send a delegation to the Olympics.

The latest announcement comes after North Korea's Kim Jong Un signalled three weeks ago that athletes representing the rogue nation could take part in the events.

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The group perform a mix of pop and rock music that has been labelled as North Korea's version of the Spice Girls.

"Today marks a milestone on a long journey", Bach said after the meeting, which finalised details previously agreed between the two countries. North Korea's planned involvement in Pyeongchang is viewed as a sign of easing tensions over its nuclear and missile programme. Three North Koreans will compete in the cross-country skiing and another three in the Alpine skiing slalom and giant slalom events.

North Korean Hyon Song Wol, head of North Korea's art troupe, walks onto a train before leaving for Gangneung at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018.

There is precedent for fielding a joint team in worldwide competition, including at the 1991 football under-20 World Cup, when the two Koreas competed together and even advanced to the quarter finals.

"It seems certain that the North Korean authorities will fill the orchestra with players who can get the job done, refrain from defecting - not something the South Korean organisers of the games and related arts festivals would like to see either, presumably - and augment whatever "soft power" reserves that the North has when dealing with South Korea", Adam Cathcart, a North Korean expert at the Leeds University, was quoted as saying by the Washington Post.

"Our players were really nervous", Sarah Murray, South Korean women's hockey head coach, told Reuters last month during the team's training swing through the United States.

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