North Korea offers to resume pre-Olympic visit to South

North Korea offers to resume pre-Olympic visit to South

It is part of a sudden reconciliation between the neighbouring countries, which will also see their athletes march together under a "unification flag" before the Olympics.

Hyon, who is the leader of all-female Moranbong Band, isalso rumoured to be North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's former lover.

The visit to the South marks the first by North Koreans since South Korean President Moon Jae-in took office in May previous year and sought to re-engage with the North.

Separately, small but vocal groups of South Korean demonstrators protested North Korea's participation in next month's Olympics, as a delegation of North Korean officials led by star singer Hyon Song-wol visited Seoul and inspected Games' venues.

Those include figure skating, short-track speed skating, cross-country skiing and Alpine skiing, as well as hockey, with the International Olympic Committee having approved the entry of the joint team despite concerns voiced by some hockey federations over fairness.

North Korea is sending only a handful of athletes, however, it is sending over hundreds of cheerleaders and cultural performers, including an orchestra with over a hundred members.

Back on January 11, Gangneung Mayor Choi Myeong-hee expressed his willingness to accommodate North Korean cheerleaders for free at the city's hanok village, which sleeps 240.

"The Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang are hopefully opening the door to a brighter future on the Korean peninsula, and inviting the world to join in a celebration of hope", Mr Bach said.

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Outside critics have dismissed Kim's overture as a tactic to use improved ties with Seoul to weaken US -led global sanctions over North Korea's advancing nuclear and missile programs.

But, North Korea canceled at the last minute, according to Yonhap News Agency, citing the South Korean Ministry of Unification.

After having dinner at their hotel Hyon's team will go back to North Korea using the western route via the Gyeongui Line Train.

Do said that North Korea has agreed to send its players as early as possible to South Korea so they can practice with the South's players.

Hyon was the subject of lurid 2013 reports in the South that she and around a dozen other state musicians had been executed for appearing in porn movies.

It was up to the International Olympic Committee to finalize the details, including protocols regarding the North's uniform, anthem and flag, and the size of the North's athletic delegation.

Sarah Murray, speaking at the Jincheon National Training Center on Monday, said that while she had been given no choice about coaching a joint Korean team there had been no pressure on her to play the North Koreans in actual games.

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