North Korean Orchestra Will Perform at Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

North Korean Orchestra Will Perform at Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

Kerry Wise
January 17, 2018

North Korea has agreed to send a 140-member orchestra to the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea next month.

Officials from the two Koreas met earlier this week in the border village of Panmunjom, their first talks in more than two years.

South Korean liberal activists posed alongside Korean Unification flag when they held a press conference Thursday in Seoul to welcome North Korea's participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

Even though there is no such previous case at the Olympics, Sports Minister Do said there have been cases where the two Koreas marched together under the Korean Unification flag during global sporting events hosted by South Korea.

The delegation will include athletes - still to be decided - as well as high-ranking officials, a cheering squad, and a taekwondo demonstration group.

The North also on Monday proposed holding talks at Panmunjom on Wednesday on logistics and details for the visit by the North's athletes.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un may send his personal all-female pop band to the Olympics in South Korea.

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Officials from both Koreas are to meet with the International Olympic Committee at its headquarters in Switzerland on Saturday. The North remained silent on the offer until Kim Jong-un said in his New Year's speech it could participate, a move seen as aimed at easing military tension with the US.

North Korea on Sunday slammed South Korean President Moon Jae-in for praising USA roles in pressuring Pyongyang to the recent inter-Korean talks.

"They should know that the train and bus carrying our delegation.are still in Pyongyang", it read. (Kor) "Any North Korean performing group is under the state control, therefore these groups are easily divided and put together depending on the occasion".

Who would have thought that the 2018 South Korea Olympics would feature a team from North Korea and not have a Russian team competing? Critics question how long the warmer mood can last without any serious discussion on the North's nuclear disarmament. It will be the North's first performance in South Korea since 2002, when Pyongyang sent a delegation of 30 singers and dancers to Seoul for a joint event. "The South Korean authorities had better ponder over what unfavorable results may be entailed by their impolite behavior". "That is something that has to be discussed between the two sides", a North Korean diplomat in Geneva told Reuters.

A South Korean sports ministry spokesman says the two sides had agreed.

A spokesman for Seoul's unification ministry played down the editorial, attributing it to "internal reasons and circumstances". Given Moranbong Band leader Hyun Song-wol's attendance at the working-level meeting, some analysts expect that she will lead the band on its trip to South Korea.

Formed in 2012, when Kim was taking power, the outfit is modeled after a western girl band and has 10 members.