Unusual things are happening on the Korean Peninsula just three weeks before the start of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. This latest gesture of unity, the most dramatic in a decade, could add to fears in Washington that Pyongyang is making progress on a more far-reaching agenda.
Meetings at the border village of Panmunjom have so far focused on the details of the North's Olympic delegation, with Seoul agreeing to accommodate hundreds of North Korean athletes, officials, performers and reporters to the Games. "We have to make the most" of the opportunity, she said.
A pair of North Korean figure skaters qualified for this year's Olympics, but the country missed a deadline to confirm their participation. There is a warren of thousands of tunnels beneath North Korea's surface that was built in the 1970s, so this new training is a preparative measure for war with North Korea. "The government has said it will do its best to ensure that [the athletes'] sweat and tears will not be wasted through unfair means, and this issue will be resolved with the IOC [International Olympic Committee] by adding something to sweeten the pot [increasing the team's roster]", the official added. The two nations are also agreeing to form one joint female ice hockey team.
Analysts said the agreement would be enormously popular in South Korea. Abootalebi said this unification isn't unprecedented.
Chief South Korean delegate Chun Hae-sung said the government is well aware of such concerns and North Korea has agreed that the South Korean team's current coach will be given full authority to select North Korean players to compete.
That the world was not plunged into yet another unwelcome conflict, and female hockey players from North and South Korea will find themselves in the unconventional role of marching under the same flag next month, is in no small measure due to the tough stance United States president Donald Trump has taken on the issue. She said if all United Nations member states implemented the mandatory sanctions, they would reduce North Korea's 2018 export earnings by almost 95% from its 2016 earnings. It was recently announced that North Korea will be sending both athletes and diplomats to the games and will also be opening up communications about solutions to the ongoing military tension with South Korea.
Tensions between South and North Korea still exist and provocations are made on a regular basis, however, their sports delegations have agreed to come together in front of the world at the upcoming Winter Olympic Games starting on February 9 in South Korean Pyongyang, spreading the message of peace. But the global body has said it remains willing to consider wild-card entries for North Korean athletes.
The ministry said all wireless devices brought to the 2018 Winter Olympics and the Paralympic Games must go through inspections and receive stickers of approval, to make sure the instruments do not clash with each other.
Newsis had previously reported Hyon would be one of seven North Koreans who were to travel to the South.