DPRK calls for unity with RoK as hockey players begin Olympics training

A delegation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) officials and ice hockey players crossed the heavily guarded border into the Republic of Korea on January 25 for joint Olympics training, as Pyongyang called for all Koreans to seek unification of the two nations. The group included 12 players from the DPRK who will form a combined women’s ice hockey team with their southern counterparts at next month’s Winter Olympics in the South Korean mountain resort of Pyeongchang. After going through checkpoints in the RoK at the border, the team travelled to a national training centre in Jincheon, 90 km (56 miles) south of Seoul. In Jincheon, the athletes were met by RoK head coach Sarah Murray, who previously called the government’s decision to form a joint team a “tough situation.” Under an agreement worked out during the first official talks between the two Koreas in two years, the joint team will wear unity jerseys and march under a unified peninsula flag at the Games’ opening ceremony on February 9. Early on January 25, the DPRK sent a rare announcement addressed to “all Koreans at home and abroad”, saying they should make a “breakthrough” for unification without the help of other countries, its state media said. The DPRK and the RoK remain technically at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty. Tensions escalated dramatically last year as the regime of Kim Jong Un stepped up its programme aimed at developing a nuclear-tipped… [Read full story]

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