Overland routes linking South and North Korea to reopen during Pyeongchang Olympics

Reports North and South Korea to form joint Olympic team march together in opening ceremony

The opening ceremony has already created a buzz after on Wednesday both the Koreas agreed to march together under a single flag, a move that is happening for the first time since the Turin 2006 Winter Olympics.

The Games will begin on February 9 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the women's ice-hockey squad will be the first combined Korean team for the Olympics, and the first unified team since their athletes played together for an worldwide table-tennis championship and a youth soccer tournament in 1991. This is the first time that the countries have had a combined team since 1991, which was a youth soccer team and table tennis duo.

North Korea will send a 550-member delegation, including 230 cheerleaders, 140 artists and 30 Taekwondo players for a demonstration, the statement said.

CNN reported that the skiers from both nations will train together before the Olympics at a resort in North Korea.

During a period of detente in the 2000s, their athletes marched together in the opening and closing ceremonies of nine worldwide sporting events including the 2000 Sydney Olympics, but they did not field a joint team.

Earlier on Wednesday, during a meeting with Olympic athletes, South Korea's President Moon Jae-in hailed the North's participation in the Winter Games as "a great opportunity to thaw the South-North Korea relationship that is frozen solid".

Paik Hak-soon, director of the Centre for North Korean studies at Sejong Institute in South Korea, said: 'Seeing good results in competitions thanks to the cheering squad would enable the North Koreans to say they contributed to a successful Olympics'.

The two Koreas have previously sent joint teams to major worldwide sports events twice, both in 1991.

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The talks at the border last weekend marked the first time the nations have spoken in two years.

Though the athletes competed as separate countries in 2000 and 2004 with their own uniforms, flags and national anthems, marching together itself had a symbolic meaning for inter-Korean reconciliation.

A joint statement said the North Korean Olympic delegation will travel to South Korea across their heavily fortified land border.

The decision Wednesday to add North Korean players to the South's women's hockey team, which has already qualified for the games, is seen by many as unfair to the players, who earned their positions.

In 2017, leader Kim Jong-Un staged a giant spectacle showcasing a range of weaponry, including what appeared to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), in an event on April 15 marking the 105th anniversary of the North's founder.

North Korea's Rodong Sinmun newspaper said the relationship between the North and the South was going towards detente.

Seoul hopes that the ongoing inter-Korean talks, which are mostly limited to the Olympics, will pave the way for denuclearization talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

South and North Korea played against each other in the lower tier of the 2017 world championship.

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