US hopes joint Olympic team helps NKorea change

The two Koreas will march together under a unification flag - a pale blue silhouette of the whole Korean peninsula - at the opening ceremony for the February 9-25 Games, according to a press statement issued by the South. It was the most dramatic gesture of reconciliation between them in a decade.

"We hope that this experience gives North Korea and its athletes a small taste of freedom, and that rubs off and it's something that spreads and impacts in these negotiations and in these conversations", spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

It's also an "opportunity for the global community to demonstrate solidarity in opposition to the North Korean nuclear tests and missile launches", Mr Peters said. South Korea is also seeking to form a united women's ice hockey team with the North.

Expectation of success was created Wednesday when host nation South Korea announced the agreement of an Olympic cooperation package with North Korean officials in bilateral talks on their shared border.

Negotiators also agreed the North Korean cheerleaders would cheer alongside South Korean supporters in support of both countries.

President Trump gave an interview to Reuters this week where he not only indicated that Russian Federation is helping North Korea get around sanctions, but also that the Kim Jong Un regime is dangerously close to a functioning ballistic missile that can reach the United States. Mr. Kim has called Mr. Trump a lunatic.

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Last week, North Korea agreed to send a national delegation to next month's Winter Olympics.

Few expect that the breakthrough will lead to a quick breakthrough in the decades-old standoff over the North's nuclear weapons program.

"Marching under the one peninsula flag does not bring peace to the Korean peninsula", said one South Korean Twitter user.

On Wednesday, Turkey said it would not hesitate to take action in Afrin district and other regions across the border in Syria unless the United States withdrew support for the force.

South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will repeat symbolic reconciliation events as seen in the past global sports events as the two sides agreed to jointly march under one flag and cheer together during the upcoming Winter Olympics. "We are dancing to the tune of (North Korean leader) Kim Jong Un's disguised peace offensive". "But if we march together or field a single team, I think that can be a further step in developing South-North relations".

Others complained "the Pyeongchang Olympics have already become the Pyongyang Olympics".

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North Korea is planning to send a large delegation to the Olympics in addition to the athletes and performance group.

A unified team of any kind at the Olympics would be a milestone for the Koreas, which have been bitter rivals in worldwide sports as well as diplomacy and armed conflict, but which also have a history of trying to use sports as an avenue for reconciliation.

On Saturday, the Olympic governing body will convene a four-party meeting to work out all the details relating to North Korean participation in the upcoming Winter Games. The North earlier said it would send a 140-member art troupe.

This would mark the third time the two nations compete under the same banner at a sporting event, following the 1991 ping pong world championship and the Under-20 soccer world cup held that same year.

But forming a joint Olympic team proved elusive.

Paik Hak-soon, the director of the Centre for North Korean studies at Sejong Institute in South Korea, said North Korea was using the cheering squad to draw attention to its apparent cooperative spirit.

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  • Ryan Wade