Friday, 23 February, 2018

Majority of S.Koreans oppose unified Olympic team

Buses carrying North Korean officials head to Seoul on Jan. 21 2018 Buses carrying North Korean officials head to Seoul on Jan. 21 2018
Derrick Tucker | 22 January, 2018, 02:23

A KOREAN unity deal for the Pyeongchang Olympics will see 22 North Korean athletes cross the border with South Korea to compete and march together under a unification flag at the opening ceremony.

Hyon, who was part of a recent inter-Korea negotiation that eventually paved way for the participation of North Korean athletes, will lead a seven-member delegation scheduled to travel to the South on Saturday (20 January) to inspect the venue and make arrangements for the performances. He said: "The Olympic spirit is about respect, dialogue and understanding".

"The Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang are hopefully opening the door to a brighter future on the Korean peninsula, and inviting the world to join in a celebration of hope", Bach said.

The unified ice hockey team will be made up of the 23 members of South Korea's existing team and 12 North Korean skaters.

In figure skating, duo Ryom Tae-Ok and Kim Ju-Sik have also been granted a place, even though they missed the original deadline for registration.

Even as two Koreas reached deals over the Olympics, the North's state media accused the dovish Moon of "brown-nosing" the USA and threatened to withdraw its offer to join the Olympics if Seoul did not show enough respect.

North and South Korea remain technically at war since the Korean war ended with armistice, not a peace treaty, in 1953.

Head of North Korean delegation Kwon Hyok Bong, center, and Hyon Song Wol, the head of the Moranbong Band, left.

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"The Olympic Games are always about building bridges; they never erect walls", Bach said.

She reportedly is a former lover of Kim Jong-un from a relationship abouta decade ago, but his father kKim Jong Il ordered the affair to end.

The IOC had previously approved the two countries jointly participating in Olympic opening and closing ceremonies, something that happened during the Sydney Summer Games in 2000.

Cross-country skiing: two male athletes - Han Chun-Gyong and Pak Il-Chol - will compete in the 15km freestyle, while one female athlete Ri Yong-Gum has a place in the 10km freestyle. There are apparently few objections to the North Korean presence at itself, which likely ensures that the country holds off any significant weapons test or other aggressive acts that would risk disrupting the games.

The North Korean delegation will also include 24 coaches and officials, plus 21 media representatives at the February 9-25 Winter Games.

"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.

In a survey of 1,200 adults released by Seoul National University in October, 53.8 percent of the respondents said they supported the idea of reunification.

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