Wednesday 19 December 2018

North and South Korea seek unified ice hockey team at Olympics

The North recently agreed to cooperate in the Games
The North recently agreed to cooperate in the Games

North and South Korea have agreed in principle to field a joint women's ice hockey team during next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea.

The two countries have relayed their position to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

A South Korean sports ministry spokesman confirmed that the two sides had reached an agreement over the games in Pyeongchang, saying they have been discussing the make-up of a unified women's hockey team since last year.

The spokesman, Hwang Seong Un, said the matter would be discussed on Saturday when officials from the two Koreas and the IOC meet at IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

A joint team would require IOC approval.

If the move gets the green light, this would be the first unified Korean Olympic team.

Another South Korea official said the two countries would parade under a joint "unification flag" during the opening ceremony at the Games if they conduct a joint march.

Sports minister Do Jong-hwan made the comments during a meeting with MPs.

He said a joint march is one of the items to be discussed during the IOC-hosted meeting this weekend.

North Korea agreed last week to send a delegation to the Olympics in a conciliatory gesture amid animosities over its nuclear and missile tests.

South Korean officials want the rival Koreas to conduct a joint march and take other reconciliation steps during the Olympics in the hopes it will help ease tensions.

North Korea will also send a 140-member orchestra to the South during next month's games, according to the unification ministry in Seoul.

The North Korean orchestra will perform in Seoul and the eastern South Korean city of Gangneung.

Press Association

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