The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Jan. 20 that South Korea and North Korea will march together as one under the name 'Korea' at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics. (Photo courtesy of the International Olympic Committee)

North and South Korea to March as One at 2018 Winter Olympics


JANUARY 24, 2018

Jakarta. North Korea and South Korea have agreed to march together, flying a "unified Korea" flag during the 2018 Winter Olympics opening next month, with the South hoping the move will help establish a peaceful dialogue between the two countries.

The North plans to send a delegation of 400 to the games that will take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

According to a statement issued by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Jan. 20, South Korea and North Korea will "march together as one under the name 'Korea' at the opening ceremony."

During a press conference in Jakarta, South Korea's ambassador to Indonesia, Cho Taiyoung, said the North Korean delegation will comprise of athletes, government officials and the representation's supporters.

North Korea's participation is considered a breakthrough, after months of escalating tensions in the Korean Peninsula over the North's widely condemned nuclear and missile tests.

"North Korea's nuclear and missile tests have created tensions and concerns in the Korean Peninsula, but I think at this point we do not need to be concerned," Cho said during a press conference in Jakarta.

Bright Hopes

Ahead of the Olympics, North Korean athletes will also join the South's training sessions.

Cho said there are also plans for both countries to hold a cultural event together.

"We have reopened our communication link, with North Korea's participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics … I think this is a good opportunity to realize peace and continue with a dialogue between the two sides" Cho said.

North Korea will participate in five disciplines at the games, including figure skating and alpine skiing. In women's ice hockey the two countries will be represented by one team — for the first time in the history of the games.

"The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 are hopefully opening the door to a brighter future on the Korean Peninsula, and inviting the world to join in a celebration of hope," IOC president Thomas Bach said.

Ninety-five countries will participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics on Feb. 9-25. This is South Korea's second time to host the event, after the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.