Olympics 2018: North Korea to send 22 athletes

12 women will also join South Korea's female hockey team to create Korea's first-ever unified Olympic team.

North Korea will send 22 athletes to next month's Winter Games in South Korea, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said yesterday, approving a landmark deal between two nations still officially at war.

The trip came amid brisk inter-Korean cooperation on the North's participation in the Olympic Games to open in three weeks.

A North Korean delegation arrived in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, Sunday to check out venues for its proposed art performances at next month's PyeongChang Winter Games.

The efforts to ensure that North Korea takes part in the games are part of moves to lessen tensions on the Korean Peninsula. So we called up the [South] Korea Ice Hockey Association.

North Korea has still not disclosed the reason as to why it is not sending the advance team, the official said on Saturday.

A member of a South Korean conservative civic group burns a North Korean national flag during a protest opposing North Korea's participation in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, in Seoul, South Korea, January 22, 2018.

In addition, a demonstration Taekwondo team, a cheering group and hundreds of musical performers also will be involved.

North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country, which is in charge of inter-Korean affairs, called the picture-burning protest a "shuddering, disgusting crime", urging Seoul to apologize and punish those involved.

Bach said the IOC has since 2014 talked with Olympic officials from both countries separately to see if the Pyenongchang Games could be the catalyst for peace-making. The North's team will again enter South Korea using the Gyeongui Line Train on the western side of the Peninsula.

Murray said the only criteria she has to decide who plays is what is best for the team. As the team's coach, Murray should enjoy the freedom to make these decisions without pressure from the outside.

The South Korean government will respond to the North's suggestion following a review of the details.

"We're going to put in players that are going to be successful and we're going to play to win with the roster we have".

The call came amid growing antipathy among conservatives toward North Korea's participation in the games after heightened tensions over its nuclear and missile tests previous year.

The Political Bureau of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea's Central Committee announced Monday the decision to mark February 8 as the founding anniversary of the Korean People's Army, according to the state media outlet Korean Central News Agency.

  • Leroy Wright