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Talk of joint Olympics hockey team worries South Koreans

Talk of joint Olympics hockey team worries South Koreans

The flag featured prominently in the stands during the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, after officials barred spectators from bringing the North Korean flag into stadiums.

This weekend the two nations will meet with the International Olympic Committee for final approval of their Olympic plans.

"I don't like it, North Korea, South Korea team and go play, I don't like that", said another resident named Pil.

So far the IIHF has not returned requests for comment.

"It is the government's basic stance that we will make sure there is no negative impact on our athletes", said Baik Tae-hyun, a spokesman for the Unification Ministry. The statement outlined 11 proposals approved by both sides. Seoul, South Korea, with a metro area population of about 25 million, is about 30 miles away. The joint statement said the delegation will total around 150 members.

The International Olympic Committee has been more cautious.

"They're supposed to be get together all the time, but they're not. We believe North Korean participation in the Paralympic Winter Games will send out a very good message of peace through sport".

Korea Unification Ministry South Korean Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung right shakes hands with the head of North Korean delegation Jon Jong Su after a meeting at Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone in Paju Sout
Talk of joint Olympics hockey team worries South Koreans

Pyongyang asked Seoul last Monday to allow 140 members of the so-called Samjiyon Orchestra to cross into the country to attend the Winter Olympics through the truce village of Panmunjom next month. The line ends just before the DMZ across the border from Kaesong Industrial Complex.

The North Korean demands were revealed as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Tuesday in Vancouver with foreign ministers from 20 nations that sided with the US during the Korean War, which ended in 1953, to discuss how to pressure North Korea to quit its nuclear weapons and missile programs.

A unified Korean team reportedly seeks a deep-benched roster of 35 players instead of 22. Outside critics dismissed Kim's overture as a tactic to use improved ties with Seoul to weaken USA -led global sanctions over North Korea's nuclear and missile tests.

Public surveys show most South Koreans support the North's participation in the Olympics, a chance to create a tentative thaw in the Koreas' long-strained relations.

Adding to a row over the ski resort, critics said that Seoul's financial support for the North's participation in the Olympics could weaken the united front in enforcing worldwide sanctions.

"This is why all those crotchety hawks evinced such skepticism at North Korea's talks", tweeted Robert Kelly, a professor of political science at Pusan National University in South Korea.

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