North Korea to send 22 athletes to Pyeongchang Winter Olympics


It was last used in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Italy.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said the world should not be naive about North Korea's "charm offensive" over the Olympics.

South Koreans seem generally happy they'll see the North Koreans at their, but aren't as pleased about sharing a team with them.

North Korea will send a total of 22 athletes to the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, it was confirmed on Saturday.

The visit to the South marks the first by North Koreans since South Korean President Moon Jae-in took office in May a year ago and sought to re-engage with the North.

South Korean organizing officials may need to house hundreds of people in a North Korean delegation, including a reported 230-member cheering group.

With no official media access given to Hyon, TV stations broadcast live footage of her bus moving on Seoul's roads before arriving at the railway station, where hundreds of police officers were mobilized to maintain order. Later Sunday, wearing a dark winter coat and fur scarf and with half her hair tied to the back, she looked more serious with an expressionless face.

When Do was asked if North Korea had given any guarantees not to use the Olympics for political reasons, the translator intervened to say "I don't think we can take that question". The IOC later announced that the unified Olympic team of the two Korean states will take part in women's ice hockey, while athletes from North Korea will compete in figure skating, short track and skiing.

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The IOC said that the united Korean delegation would be led into the Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony under the Korean Unification Flag which would be carried by two athletes, one from each country.

IOC president Thomas Bach was hosting closed-door talks with the leaders of the Olympic committees from both Koreas as well Pyeongchang 2018 organisers, and senior government officials from the two countries.

Critics of the unity deal believe that Kim Jong-un may try to leverage the Olympics to weaken US-led worldwide pressure and sanctions toughened due to North Korea's prolonged program of nuclear tests and missile launches.

The countries also agreed to hold a joint cultural event at the North's scenic Diamond Mountain and a training session between non-Olympic skiers at the North's Masik ski resort ahead of the Olympics.

Head of North Korean delegation Kwon Hyok Bong, center, and Hyon Song Wol, the head of the Moranbong Band, left. It wasn't clear why the visit was rescheduled.

Hyon has been the focus of intense South Korean media interest since she attended inter-Korean talks at the border on Monday that reached agreement on the troupe's visit.

They will head to Gangneung, 260 kilometers east of Seoul, from the capital on a KTX bullet train later Sunday and return the following day.

The reconciliation mood between the Koreas began after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said in a New Year's speech that he was willing to send a delegation to the Olympics.