Talks open at Korean Olympic unity meeting in Switzerland

Rival Koreas agree to form first unified Olympic team

Defense and Security in North Korea – Military Aerospace and Defense Industries

Among them-figure skating, short track speed skating, cross-country skiing and alpine skiing.

The four-party meeting in Switzerland among the International Olympic Committee, South Korean and North Korean Olympic committees and the Pyongyang organizing committee focused on whether to form a unified women's ice hockey team, another controversial topic in South Korea.

North Korea's late decision to participate in the South's Games will cause logistically issues for the organisers, although the International Olympic Committee is expected to rubber-stamp the nations' plans at a meeting this weekend.

In the most symbolic agreement approved Saturday, 12 North Korean women's hockey players will join their neighbors in a united roster playing in special uniforms with a Korean song as their anthem.

While a recent opinion poll showed most South Koreans welcome the North's participation in the Games, conservative opponents staged a small, but noisy rally as a North Korean delegation inspected venues in Seoul for cultural events to be held on the sidelines of the Olympics.

Given the lack of an explanation, and the North Korean government's general opaqueness and unpredictability, there was much speculation in South Korea about what the cancellation meant.

"The Olympic spirit is about respect, dialogue and understanding", said Bach. She's been the subject of intense South Korean media attention since she attended last week's talks at the border that struck an agreement on the 140-memer Samjiyon art troupe's two performances - one in Seoul and the other in Gangneung, where some of the games will take place. They say some South Korean athletes will become unable to compete in the Games as a result.

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The police will probably release more information when their investigation is finished, he added. Furthermore, toxicology tests on the bodies showed no abnormal sign of drug use.

Other critics also pointed out North Korea's "peace offensive", saying that it was trying to showcase itself as a normal country despite its nuclear ambitions.

He added: "If we march together or field a single team, I think that can be a further step in developing South-North relations".

The current reconciliation mood began after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said in a New Year's speech that he was willing to send a delegation to the games. In working-level discussions on January 15, they agreed on a plan to have a group consisting of around 140 members of North Korea's Samjiyon performance group give one performance each in Gangneung and Seoul.

During the second round of talks conducted on Monday in the border village of Panmunjom, the parties continued working out details of North Korean Olympic entry, understood to be an attempt to ease tensions between the two nations.

A seven-member North Korean team had been scheduled to visit on Saturday to check venues for the performances, the Ministry previously said.

The South Korean government has agreed to the visit on Sunday, the ministry said.

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