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Two Koreas to march together at Winter Olympics opening ceremony — IOC

Two Koreas to march together at Winter Olympics opening ceremony — IOC”

"Under the circumstances where inter-Korean (relations) are extremely strained, in fact just some 20 days ago we weren't expecting North Korea would participate in the Olympics", said Chun Hae-sung, the South's chief negotiator and vice unification minister. "The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 are hopefully opening the door to a brighter future on the Korean peninsula".

President of the IOC Thomas Bach said all parties, including the Pyeongchang organizing committee, held "12 hours of talks and negotiations" on Friday - and it has been suggested "more exciting initiatives" will be cooked up in the talks.

Mr Bach offered "sincere thanks to the governments of North and South Korea".

Only 22 players will be able to participate in each game.

Cross-Country Skiing: The IOC allocated three additional quota places to the NOC of the DPRK to allow two male athletes (HAN Chun-gyong - 15km freestyle and PAK Il-chol - 15km freestyle) and one female athlete (RI Yong-gum - 10km freestyle) to compete in PyeongChang.

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North Korea's participation in the Olympics has been seen as a win for South Korea president Moon Jae-in, who hopes to use the event to make a diplomatic breakthrough in the standoff over North Korea's nuclear and missile program. She also heads the hugely popular girl band Moranbong that's hand-picked by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. North Korea agreed to send a 140-member art troupe, including an orchestra, singers and dancers, for concerts in Seoul and Gangnueng during next month's Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

At the Opening Ceremony on February 9, one North Korean and one South Korean will carry the flag in the Parade of Nations. "Today is a great moment for the Olympic Movement, because the Olympic spirit has brought us all together".

"We've conveyed our position to the North that all preparations have been made for the visit and that the South and the North would be able to reset the schedule", he added.

North Korea is due to send a delegation which will consist of around 550 members including 230 cheerleaders, 140 artists and 30 Taekwondo fighters, to South Korea on January 25.



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