North Korea's Winter Games involvement confirmed
January 21, 2018 | 11:49 AM
by Times TV

North Korea will send 22 athletes to the Winter Games in the neighboring South next month and compete in three sports and five disciplines, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Saturday.

North Korea's planned involvement in Pyeongchang is viewed as a sign of easing tensions over its nuclear and missile programme.

Easing tensions in Korea.

The International Olympic Committee announced on Saturday (January 20) that North Korea will send 22 athletes to the Winter Olympics in the neighboring South next month.

They'll be competing in three sports and five disciplines and the decision is viewed as a sign of moving forward over disagreements regarding the North's nuclear and missile program.

The North and South have already agreed to march under a single flag at the opening ceremony in PyeongChang and field a united team in the women's ice hockey. The North Korean athletes will be handed quota places, a rarely-used form of wild card to allow them to compete in events including ice skating, skiing and ice hockey.

Thomas Bach, the head of the International Olympic Committee, said he hoped the Winter Games would hopefully open the door to a brighter future on the Korean peninsula.

IOC PRESIDENT, THOMAS BACH, SAYING: "Let us not forget that such an agreement would have seemed impossible only a few weeks ago. In this respect, I would like to express my most sincere thanks to the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea for paving the way for these decisions in the Olympic spirit."

North Korea's participation in the Olympics has been seen as a win for the South's president Moon Jae-in.

He hopes to use the event to make a diplomatic breakthrough. However, the decision to field a unified ice hockey team has sparked a sharp backlash in the South. Younger South Koreans are upset that an unchastened North Korea could steal the spotlight.

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