A day after North and South Korea agreed to march under a single flag and field a united women’s ice hockey team at the upcoming Winter Olympics, the US has welcomed the rare joint participation.
“We see this as an opportunity for the regime to see the value of ending its international isolation via denuclearisation. We still are very much focused and hope that happens,” the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Wednesday.
The US also hoped that the rare joint participation between the two Koreas will also ease negotiations and tension in the Korean peninsula.
“This isn’t the first time that the two countries have marched together. We hope that this experience gives North Korea and its athletes a small taste of freedom, and that rubs off and is something that spreads and impacts in these negotiations and in these conversations,” Sanders added.
Earlier too the two rival nations have marched under the same flag. It happened in the 2006 Winter Games in Italy, and in the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships. But this is the first time that the two Koreas are competing as a unified team in the Olympics.
Based on the agreements reached during recent inter-Korean working-level talks, the 16-day Games will see the largest ever delegation from North Korea, excluding athletes. Over 230 cheerleaders from North Korea will clap for Korean athletes competing in the Olympics, which will be held in South Korea for the first time in 30 years.
But despite this rare sporting outing, reports suggest that North Korea is preparing for a huge display of its military strength in a parade, which falls on the eve of next month’s Winter Olympics.