Rival parties collide over NK's participation in PyeongChang Olympics

Rival parties collide over NK's participation in PyeongChang Olympics

North Korea's 140-member Samjiyon orchestra will perform in both cities during the Winter Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has approved a historic proposal for North Korea and South Korea to appear at the opening ceremony under one flag.

She also serves as director of the Moranbong Band, the country's well-known all-female musical group that was reportedly created at the order of leader Kim Jong-un.

North Korea recently threatened to pull out of the Olympics because the South Korean president praised President Donald Trump for helping to make talks between the two Koreas possible.

South Korean and North Korean women will compete in hockey, with the North Korean athletes being included in the game for political reasons, rather than their merit as athletes.

Thomas Bach, chief of the International Olympic Committee, said: 'Such an agreement would have seemed impossible only a few weeks ago'.

North Korea is sending only a handful of athletes, however, it is sending over hundreds of cheerleaders and cultural performers, including an orchestra with over a hundred members. The team was expected to stay overnight at Gangneung before returning to Seoul to check another venue in the capital on Monday, according to Yonhap news agency.

The IOC has said it wants to be "as flexible as possible" in maximising North Korean participation at the 2018 Games and has opened the door to some of the country's speed-skaters and skiers competing. Outside critics have dismissed Kim's overture as a tactic to use improved ties with Seoul to weaken USA -led worldwide sanctions against North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

Meanwhile, the government has chose to send officials to Masikryong Ski Resort in North Korea, where up-and-coming skiers from the two Koreas are to train.

The united women's hockey team will be the first time the two Koreas will have joined together in Olympic events.

The Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics will take place from February 9 to 25.

They will be accompanied by 24 coaches and officials.

But it was on Hyon Song-wol that South Korea's cameras were focused.

South Korea's Unification Ministry said it had accepted the proposal for the two-day visit starting Sunday.

"Pyongyang is apparently angry as unconfirmed rumours about Hyon's alleged ties with Kim are being spread again", Professor Yang Moo-Jin of the University of North Korean Studies said.

South Korea's Ministry of National Defense warned that North Korea's diplomatic efforts could actually be a front to weaken the US-South Korean alliance.



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