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  • Flags of the International Olympic Committee, the Republic of Korea, the Democratic People

    Flags of the International Olympic Committee, the Republic of Korea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee. | Photo: Reuters

Published 20 January 2018

The International Olympic Committee hosted a meeting in Switzerland on Saturday to discuss North Korea's participation in Pyeongchang.

North Korea will be sending 22 athletes to compete in three sports at the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February, after the two countries agreed a breakthrough deal earlier this month during their first high-level talks in two years.

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) hosted a meeting in Switzerland on Saturday to discuss North Korea's participation in Pyeongchang, the BBC reports.

IOC President Thomas Bach confirmed that the two nations would march together at the opening ceremony on February 9.

Describing the agreement as "a milestone in a long journey," Bach also said that North and South Korea will be allowed to field a unified women's ice hockey team at the Games. North Korea will also be represented in skating and skiing, Reuters reports.

The two countries, between whom relations are finally thawing, earlier this month made a historic agreement to compete at the Olympics under a unified Korean flag.

In the most symbolic agreement, 12 North Korean women's hockey players will join their neighbors in a united roster playing in special uniforms with a Korean song as their anthem, the Chicago Tribune reports.

"The Olympic spirit is about respect, dialogue and understanding," Bach said after making the announcement in Lausanne. 

"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."

The 'Olympic Korean Peninsula Declaration' ruled that 12 players and one official from North Korea will be added to the existing South Korea women's ice hockey squad, which consists of 23 players. South Korea's head coach will take the lead, but at least three players from North Korea will join the team.

In figure skating, duo Ryom Tae-Ok and Kim Ju-Sik have also been granted a place, even though they missed the original deadline for registration.

Two extra places in short-track speed skating are being given to North Korea, allowing Jong Kwang-Bom to compete at 1500m and Choe Un-Song to take part in the 500m.

Two male cross-country skiers, Han Chun-Gyong and Pak Il-Chol, will be competing in the 15km freestyle. Female skier Ri Yong-Gum has won a place in the 10km freestyle.

In alpine skiing, three additional places have been awarded: Choe Myong-Gwang and Kang Song-Il join the male competition, while Kim Ryon-Hyang will compete in the women's event.


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