S Korea proposes joint march, hockey team with North at Olympics

Ri Son Gwon shakes hands with Cho Myoung-gyon

S Korea proposes joint march, hockey team with North at Olympics

As South Korea prepares for the North's participation in the February 9 to 25 Olympics, Pyongyang called earlier in the day for the meeting on Monday at Tongilgak, a building on the North Korean side of the truce village of Panmunjeom, the ministry said.

North Korea has yet to comment on the South's offer, which is in the spirit of the original deal and even goes beyond it.

The development comes a day after South Korea's vice sports minister Roh Tae-Kang said the South had proposed marching with the North at the Olympics' opening ceremony and also forming a joint women's ice hockey team during the high-level talks which took place on Tuesday.

Delegates from the communist regime and the staunch United States ally will hold high-level negotiations in the coming weeks, ironing out important details that will send North Korean athletes, media, and officials over the heavily guarded border between the warring nations.

North Korea has agreed to take part in the games in South Korea, and the two countries have agreed to hold more discussions on easing tensions along their border and reopening a military hotline. The team now appears likely to be a key topic at a four-party meeting of South and North Korean Olympic Committee members and officials from the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee that will be held by IOC President Thomas Bach on January 20. If a unified women's hockey team is formed, it will be the first unified Korean team in the 27 years since the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships and FIFA World Youth Championship, and the first ever in Olympic history.

The meeting is expected to determine the North Korean athletes who will participate in the Winter Games.

There was no immediate response from North Korea to the proposals.

"Even if we have one Korean team in women's hockey, we'll make sure it will not come at the expense of South Korean players", he said, according to Yonhap. The IOC and IIHF are reportedly working to explain the situation to member countries and ask for their understanding. The deal marks the first time that athletes from the North will compete in a South Korean Olympics, as North Korea boycotted the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

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