Reports are coming in that North Korea, who will participate in the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea, also announced that they will unite their athletes with South Korea during the opening ceremony under a unification flag, according to NPR News.
The two countries will also be forming a unified women's hockey team in order to compete. The North Korea cheering squad, which constitutes a total of 230 people, will also make the trip. The North Korean orchestra, singers, and dancers will come to the South to perform throughout the games.
This isn't the first time that South Korea's athletes have marched alongside their North Korean rivals during the Olympics. This also happened in 2000 and 2004 in Sydney and Athens, as well as in the 2006 Winter Olympics located in Turin.
NPR reports that the final decision for the two teams to march together emerged during meetings held by both countries at the Peace House in the village of Panmunjom, where both countries agreed that North Korea should be welcomed at the games.
South Korea hosted the games in 1988 as well, but last time North Korea didn't at all participate in the games, and the regime didn't send any athletes to the game. Many have interpreted North Korea's inclusion in the games as a sign of easing tension between the two countries. In January, the two sides met for the first time in two years to discuss prospects for peace and collaboration.
CNN reports that recent news about a unified march represents a "diplomatic breakthrough following days of talks between the two countries." For this reason, many people, especially those who value increased diplomatic talks between the two nations and do not advocate for unnecessary isolation of North Korea, welcome this announcement with open arms.
Many people, however, are upset at the recent announcement, and even more are skeptical of what this actually means. CNN reports that South Korea's foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha said that "despite these overtures to improve relations with the South, North Korea has yet to show any intention to fulfill its international obligations regarding denuclearization."
John Park, the director of the Korea Working Group at the Harvard Kennedy School, also warned against the talks as a major diplomatic breakthrough. Rather than representing a diplomatic breakthrough, Park suggests, both Koreas are primarily utilizing the talks only for the limit objective of arranging for the participation of North Korea in the Olympics. And that, he says, is the extent to which so-called "easing tensions" between the two nations will go.
NPR reports that not everybody is happy with North Korea's announcement about joining hands with South Korea at the Olympics. In fact, many in South Korea aren't happy at all. An opinion piece in South Korea's Chosun Ibo, claims that North Korea's group of athletes is too small and that they will be sending an "army of clowns, bell-ringers, and other assorted rabble."
The piece also argues that South Korea will be losing a chance to put its national flag in the limelight during one of the world's biggest events. In general, argues this author, this is a losing deal for South Korea.
In recent news, a reality star beats a 3% survival chance and is now cancer free.