North And South Korea Will March Together Under A Unified Korean Flag At The Olympics

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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North and South Korea will march together under a unified Korean flag in the opening ceremony at the Winter Olympics, South Korean media reported Wednesday.

The two Koreas met again Wednesday for the third time in a little over a week at the border to work out the details for North Korea’s participation in the Winter Olympics scheduled to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea in February. Talks followed a surprising overture in Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s address, in which the young North Korean dictator offered to engage South Korea in dialogue and send a delegation to the Winter Olympics.

In Wednesday’s talks, the North agreed to march alongside the South, according to Yonhap News Agency. The two Koreas will walk in carrying the Korean Unification Flag, which features a blue image of the Korean Peninsula on a white background.

As North Korea boycotted the Summer Olympics in South Korea in 1988, this will be the North’s first time participating in the Olympics in South Korea, and this will be the first time the two Koreas have marched under a unified banner since the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

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The North and South have, however, marched together at other international sporting events, the last being the 2007 Asian Winter Games in Changchun, China.

In addition to marching together, the two Koreas intend to create a unified women’s hockey team, and the North and South Korean teams will even train together.

The South Korean government under liberal President Moon Jae-in views the Olympics as an opportunity for national reconciliation, while the North appears to have other, more questionable interests, demonstrated by its efforts to separate South Korea from its American protector, threats directed at the Moon administration, and its demands that the South avoid bringing up its illegal nuclear program while the North criticizes South Korea for its military drills with the U.S.

Correction: This article initially misstated the last time the two Koreas marched under a unified banner.

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