South Korean delegation (L) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) delegation hold talks at the truce village of Panmunjom, Jan. 17, 2018. (Xinhua/South Korean Unification Ministry)
South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) have agreed to jointly march at the opening ceremony of the South Korea-hosted Winter Olympics and to cheer together for both athletes of the two Koreas during the Olympic period, Seoul's unification ministry said Wednesday.
The agreement was reached after a vice ministerial-level dialogue between the two Koreas which was held at Peace House, a building in the South Korean side of Panmunjom which straddles the heavily guarded inter-Korean border.
The three-member South Korean delegation was led by Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung, while the DPRK delegation was led by Jon Jong Su, vice chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland.
The delegations adopted a 11-point joint statement after the working-level dialogue, which followed the ministerial-level talks held in the truce village of Panmunjom about a week earlier.
The statement said the two Koreas will march together during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics under a unified flag of the Korean Peninsula, while fielding a joint women's ice hockey team. Those will be discussed between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the national Olympic committees of the two Koreas.
The DPRK agreed to send its cheering squad of about 230 members to cheer together with South Korea's cheering squad for both athletes of the two Koreas during the Winter Olympic period.
The 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games were slated to run from February to March at South Korea's east county of PyeongChang.
The DPRK agreed to send a demonstration team of Taekwondo, a traditional Korean martial art, comprised of about 30 players, to demonstrate Taekwondo performances in South Korea's capital Seoul and the PyeongChang county.
Pyongyang will send its press corps to cover the activities by its athletes, cheerleaders and the demonstration team of Taekwondo.
The DPRK's athletes, cheerleaders, the Taekwondo demonstration team and the press corps as well as the DPRK's National Olympic Committee delegation will use a land route to cross the inter-Korean land border in the western region to South Korea.
The DPRK athletes will come on Feb. 1, while the DPRK's Olympic committee delegation, the demonstration team, the cheering squad and the press corps will cross the inter-Korean border on Feb. 7.
Meanwhile, the DPRK will dispatch its 150-member delegation, including athletes, cheerleaders, art performers and reporters, to the Winter Paralympic Games set to kick off on March 9 in PyeongChang county.
South Korea and the DPRK will hold joint cultural events at Mount Kumgang, a scenic resort in the DPRK's eastern region, before the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics kicks off.
Skiing players from the two Koreas will conduct a joint training at the DPRK's Masik Pass ski resort. South Korea's advance team will visit the DPRK's ski resort for three days from Jan. 23 to check the facilities in the ski resort.
The agreements were reached amid growing signs of a thaw in inter-Korean relations, which came after top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un said in his New Year's address that his country was willing to participate in the South Korea-hosted winter sports event.
The following day, South Korea proposed holding the first high-level talks with the DPRK in about two years, which were held on Jan. 9.
It was followed by the agreement between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump that the two allies would not carry out any joint military exercise during the Winter Olympic period.