Monday, 19 February, 2018

North Korean orchestra, maybe joint hockey team at Olympics

Joint Olympic flag deal angers conservatives in South Korea Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast rewritten or redistributed
Patty Aguilar | 19 January, 2018, 12:57

North and South Korea have been continuing to talk details about presenting a kind of united front at the winter Olympics-starting three weeks from Friday.

Monday's meeting was for working-level talks - with lower-ranking officials - rather than the breakthrough high-level talks of last week.

On Saturday, the International Olympic Committee will host a meeting in Lausanne to finesse the details of a peace-making breakthrough following months of rising tensions fueled by North Korea's missile-testing program.

While, at the surface, the Olympic unification seems like a positive step for both countries, some see it as a smoke screen by North Korea to buy time to pursue its nuclear weapons program.

An agreement to field a joint women's ice hockey team at the upcoming Games also drew criticism.

Monday's talks were thought to be focused on details including the number of performers, their travel route and their schedules, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

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But South Korean hockey players and officials are annoyed that the engagement efforts will probably see half the South's hockey players excluded to make way for the athletes from the North at the Olympics, which opens February 9.

The IOC says it will meet on Saturday at its headquarters in Lausanne with officials from the Olympic Committees of the 2 Koreas and the organizing committee of the PyeongChang Games. "It's not the time to ease pressure towards North Korea".

Duckworth has been outspoken in urging President Donald Trump to be very aware of the potential consequences of his heated rhetoric, saying in a November letter to Trump, "As the drumbeat of war accelerates, the American people must understand the potential consequences of the United States engaging in armed conflict" against North Korea, she said in the letter, sent just before Trump starts on an extensive swing through Asia. "We did that 18 years ago at the Sydney Summer Olympics, but North Korea has fired missiles, conducted nuclear tests and killed our own citizens". It also accused Seoul of letting Washington deploy strategic assets like an aircraft carrier near the Korean Peninsula on the occasion of the Olympics.

North Korean Olympic participation "will serve as a chance to warm solidly frozen South-North ties", Moon said during a visit with South Korean Olympic athletes on Wednesday.

One of the North Korean delegates to the talks was Hyon Song Wol, the head of the band, fueling speculation that North Korea might send the band.

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