Two Koreas to march under ‘unification flag’ at 2018 Winter Olympic Games

World Today

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and South Korea have agreed to field a joint hockey team at the Winter Olympics next month and march under the same flag at the opening ceremony.

The agreement follows days of talks between Seoul and Pyongyang.

Washington believes it’s the “taste of freedom” needed to help ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

As CGTN’s Nathan King explains, it’s not a done deal yet.

The Two Koreas marching together under the so-called unification flag, representing all of Korea not divided along the 38th parallel. In fact, Pyongyang and Seoul have marched together nine times like this before but the tenth time will be special.

The joint women’s hockey team will mean the two Koreas competing as one for the first time in an Olympic event- details have to be worked out with the International Olympic Committee but officials have indicated they are keen to include DPRK athletes. The DPRK is also set to send skaters and cheerleading squad, a symphony orchestra as well as yet unnamed officials.

Not everyone is happy some in South Koreas are worried that the joint team could affect Seoul’s medal chances and Japan’s foreign minister is warning the world not be taken in by what he calls Pyongyang’s “charm offensive.”

Outside of the Olympic talks, the two Koreas have sharp differences still over the prospect of family reunions across their border. The DPRK is calling for a full halt to joint military exercises between the U.S. and ROK – not just the announced pause for the Olympics and there is no sign yet of any talks over the Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile program. The United States said it’s time for the DPRK to act.

The U.S. claims that it is its hardline policy against Pyongyang that has led to this thaw on the Korean peninsula but in reality, it has been a largely Korean process- DPRK leader Kim Jong-un’s New Year’s speech helped paved the way for talks that President Moon Jae-in had been planning for.