UNIFIED KOREA? North and South Korea May UNITE for Upcoming 2018 OLYMPICS

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The Unification Ministry said the message signed by Minister Cho Myoung-gyon was sent via the Panmunjeom liaison channel on Friday afternoon to North Korea's chief delegate to the recent high-level inter-Korean talks Ri Son-gwon who is chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland.

A joint march at the opening ceremony would be a stunning statement for the Games dubbed the "Peace Olympics", which will open about 50 miles (80 kilometres) from the heavily fortified Korean border on February 9.

North and South Korea are openly entertaining the idea of unifying their female hockey teams ahead of the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang next month, vowing to work together throughout the competition and possibly entering the opening ceremonies side-by-side. A senior official with the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KSOC) said on January 12 that the two sides had "submitted a joint proposal to the IOC to form a unified women's ice hockey team". The deal marks the first time that athletes from the North will compete in a South Korean Olympics, as North Korea boycotted the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

However, the International Olympic Committee has said it will consider offering wildcards to North Korean athletes.

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Defending champion Gilles Muller was knocked out of the Sydney International men's event by unseeded Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-4, 6-4.


North and South Korea on Tuesday agreed on negotiations to resolve problems and military talks aimed at averting accidental conflict, after their first official dialogue in more than two years, as Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme fuels tension.

Speed skater Lee Sang-Hwa, who will be aiming for a record-equalling third Olympic gold in the women's 500m in Pyeongchang, former U.S. major league baseball pitcher Park Chan-Ho and Choo Shin-Soo, who plays for baseball team Texas Rangers, also held the torch. "Around six to eight North Korean players appear set to join", said KSOC president Lee Kee-heung.

"We'll have to see with the International Skating Union (ISU), the International Ski Federation (FIS) and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF)", the source said. One of eight countries participating the Pyeongchang women's ice hockey event, South Korea is part of Group B with Japan, Switzerland, and Sweden.

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