North and South Korea agree to compete, march together at Olympics

PHOTO: Athletes from both South Korea and the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea--North Korea--wave during the opening ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy,Feb. 10, 2006.PlayEric Ferberg/AFP/Getty Images
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North and South Korea have agreed to form a joint female ice hockey team and march together at next month’s Winter Olympics, according to a joint statement from the countries released today by the South.

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The Koreas said their teams would walk together at the opening ceremony under a “Korean Peninsula flag.” South Korea is hosting the Games next month in the city of Pyeongchang.

Officials from both nations plan to meet with the International Olympic Committee in Switzerland on Saturday about the North’s Olympic participation. The IOC needs to approve their plans but has indicated support for the North’s participation.

The two countries have been holding high-level talks since last week. They met again today at their shared border.

The Koreas said in the statement that their National Olympic Committees would discuss which Olympic events North Korean athletes would participate in and how many would attend.

North Korea also plans to send a 230-member cheering squad that will root for athletes from both countries, the statement said.

Moreover, the North will send around 30 Taekwondo demonstrators who will perform in Pyeongchang and Seoul, the countries said.

The North Korean delegation will travel by train, with the athletes arriving on Feb. 1. The Olympics start Feb. 9.

Before the start of the Games, the two countries will hold a joint cultural event at Mt. Kumgang in North Korea, the statement said.

If the teams do march together next month, it will not be the first time they walk together under a joint flag. They did so at the opening ceremonies of the 2000, 2004 and 2006 Olympics as well.