The Latest: North Korea to send orchestra to South Korea
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on efforts by the rival Koreas to cooperate on next month’s Winter Olympics in South Korea (all times local):
South Korea says North Korea will send a 140-member orchestra to the South during next month’s Winter Olympics.
Seoul’s Unification Ministry says the North’s orchestra dispatch was part of agreements the two Koreas reached during Monday’s talks on Olympic cooperation.
A ministry statement says that the North Korean orchestra will perform Seoul and the eastern South Korean city of Gangneung.
North Korea agreed last week to send an Olympic delegation that includes officials, athletes, cheerleaders and an art troupe in a conciliatory gesture amid months of heightened tensions over its expanding nuclear and missile programs.
South Korea says it doesn’t plan to field a joint bobsled team with North Korea during next month’s Winter Games in the South.
Sports Minister Do Jong-hwan told lawmakers Monday that it’s “nonsensical” to talk about a unified bobsled team given North Korean has no athletes registered with an international bobsled association.
The Associated Press recently reported sliders from the two Koreas may share a four-man sled at next month’s games. The AP reported the sled wouldn’t be part of the actual Olympic competition, but one of the forerunning sleds sent down to test conditions before racing begins.
Do says the only sport South Korea is trying to field a joint team with North Korea is a women’s hockey team.
A South Korea official says the two Koreas would parade under a joint “unification flag” during the opening ceremony of next month’s Olympics in the South if they conduct a joint march.
South Korea’s Sports Minister Do Jong-hwan made the comments during a meeting with lawmakers Monday. He says a joint march is one of the items to be discussed during an International Olympics Committee-hosted meeting this weekend that will involve officials from the two Koreas.
North Korea agreed last week to send a delegation to the Olympics in a conciliatory gesture amid animosities over its nuclear and missile tests.
South Korean officials want the rival Koreas to conduct a joint march and take other reconciliation steps during the Olympics in the hopes it will help ease tensions.
Seoul says the two Koreas have agreed in principle to field a joint women’s ice hockey team during next month’s Olympics in South Korea and have relayed their position to the International Olympic Committee.
Sports Ministry spokesman Hwang Seong Un made the comments Monday, saying the two Koreas have been discussing the makeup of a unified women’s ice hockey team since last year.
The formation of such a team would still require IOC approval.
Hwang says the issue will be discussed when IOC officials meet officials from the two Koreas at their headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.
If realized, it would be the Koreas’ first unified Olympic team.