North And South Korean Athletes To March Together At Olympics

Screengrab/The Star Online/YouTube

The two countries plan to march together under a united flag and have arranged a joint women's ice hockey team.

According to CNN, North and South Korea have decided that their Olympic athletes will march side-by-side under a united flag at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Pyeongchang.

Along with marching together, the two countries will form a joint North and South Korean women's ice hockey team, and their skiers will train together in North Korea.

The International Olympics Committee (IOC) would need to approve the countries' agreements, and those that affect competition, such as the joint hockey team, could be more complicated than the ceremonial proposals.

"We are sure that the two Korean delegations will present their ideas and proposals at the meeting on Saturday in Lausanne. This will then enable the IOC to carefully evaluate the consequences and the potential impact on the Olympic Games and the Olympic competitions," it said in a statement.

At a summit in Vancouver Tuesday, representatives of the United States, Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom met to discuss the North Korea issue.

While some were optimistic about the ongoing talks between North and South Korea, others prescribed caution, if not outright suspicion.

"I believe that North Korea wants to buy some time to continue their nuclear and missile programs," [Japanese Foreign Minister Taro] Kono said at the meeting. "It's not the time to ease pressure towards North Korea."

In spite of the North's recent willingness to talk, Pyongyang remains clear that it has no intention of relinquishing its nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles, keeping everyone aware that cooperation for the Olympic games amounts to minor progress in the region.

John Park, director of the Korea Working Group at the Harvard Kennedy School, warned against viewing the talks as a major breakthrough.

"Both Koreas are primarily utilizing the talks for a limited objective -- arranging the participation of a North Korean delegation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics," Park said.