STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

North and South Korea meet again to discuss Winter Olympics

North and South Korea are discussing fielding a joint ice hockey team in next month's Winter Olympics, a potential fi...

Posted: Jan 15, 2018 1:07 PM
Updated: Jan 15, 2018 1:07 PM

North and South Korea are discussing fielding a joint ice hockey team in next month's Winter Olympics, a potential first for the two countries, which have never competed under one flag at the Games.

Baik Tae-hyun, a spokesman for South Korea's Unification Ministry, said Monday the two sides were in the process of coordinating the creation of an inter-Korean women's ice hockey team made-up of players from both nations.

The two sides met last week to discuss North Korea's Olympic participation

They could field a historic joint hockey team

Baik's comments came as officials from Seoul and Pyongyang sat down for discussions Monday, the second such meeting in less than seven days.

The two sides, meeting at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea, are expected to hammer out details on how the secluded communist nation can take part in the Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, though no exact agenda has been disclosed. South Korea said it agreed to North Korea's proposal to hold high-level talks on Wednesday.

Here are the latest developments:

  • Hyon Song Wol from Moranbong, a North Korean all-female band, attended Monday's talks

  • Baik told reporters North Korean negotiators brought up the case of North Korean restaurant workers who defected to the South nearly two years ago
  • North Korean state media slammed the South Korean President's "servile attitude" toward President Donald Trump

RELATED: North Korea talks are a baby steps in a big, complex picture

Thaw

Last week, officials from North and South Korea met face-to-face for the first time in two years, with the North agreeing to send a delegation to the Games -- the most significant thaw in relations between the neighboring states in years.

To date, only two North Korean figure skaters have qualified for the Games. However, the country's National Olympic Committee did not meet an October 30 deadline to accept their spot.

Baik said that both Koreas and the IOC would finalize the size of the North Korean delegation and the number of athletes competing at a meeting Saturday.

In a statement last week, the IOC reiterated that it remains open to the North's participation.

According to Japanese news agency Kyodo, North Korea's representative to the IOC, Chang Ung, told reporters at Beijing's international airport over the weekend that Seoul had proposed fielding a joint female hockey team. He did not disclose whether North Korea supported the idea.

Choi Moon-soon, the governor of Gangwon Province, where the Olympics are being hosted, discussed the idea of a joint hockey team in an interview with CNN after the first round of talks on Tuesday.

Sporting unity?

The two Koreas have competed under separate flags at major international multi-discipline sporting events since the end of World War II, but sports have been used by both sides as a means of reconciliation.

The two countries marched under the same flag at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Games in 2000 and South Korean spectators are known to support their northern compatriots. Last year, the North Korean women's ice hockey team was cheered on by crowds when they competed in South Korea.

Last week's meetings, held on Tuesday at the border village of Panmunjom, lasted for nearly an entire working day and ended with a handful notable developments. The most significant was the North's decision to send a delegation of athletes, a cheering squad, an art troupe, a visitors' group, a Taekwondo demonstration team and a press corps to the Games next month.

South Korea also said a military-to-military hotline was opened on the western Korean Peninsula, though North Korea rejected the claim that the hotline was opened as the result of the talks, and Pyongyang agreed to hold talks to ease military tensions.

Last week's dialogue was lauded by most of the international community, with the United States, China, Russia and Japan all issuing statements praising the dialogue.

After a year of saber rattling and weapons testing, analysts say the decision by Washington and Seoul to postpone annual military exercises and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's perceived offer of an olive branch provided fertile ground for diplomacy.

Many see the talks as a good first step, as they allow the two sides to establish some sort of rapport, but believe Olympic participation itself is mostly symbolic.

North Korea's still refuses to put its nuclear weapons on the table, and previous rounds of diplomacy have failed to bring about either denuclearization or a permanent peace treaty to formally end the Korean War (hostilities ended with a truce in 1953).

'Ill-mannered behaviors'

Baik, the Unification Ministry spokesman, said Monday that North Korean negotiators brought up the case of 13 North Koreans working abroad who defected to the South in 2016.

Pyongyang contends they were abducted. Shortly after the defection, CNN interviewed several of their former colleagues in the North Korean capital. They said their compatriots were tricked by the restaurant owner, but it's unclear if they were speaking under duress. Seoul contends the 13 defectors voluntarily decided to leave.

No decision on their status was made at last week's meeting, according to Baik.

"The North was just addressing their position on the issue to us," he said. "There was no conflict or anything on that."

North Korea: Moon's 'servile attitude' toward Trump

Ahead of Monday's talks, a piece in North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) accused South Korea of using the Olympic Games talks to pave the way to negotiations on North Korea's weapons programs.

RELATED: How rugby, ping-pong and other sports have mended political rifts

"This fact that South Korea is trying so hard to achieve our participation of the Winter games clearly reveals their wicked intent of leading us into giving up nuclear weapons," KCNA said. "South Korea should carefully consider how their ill-mannered behaviors can bring shameful results."

The article did promote the talks themselves as a positive development when it comes to inter-Korean relations. However, it castigated South Korean President Moon Jae-in for saying US President Donald Trump's hawkish stance on Pyongyang helped push both sides to negotiations.

"It is unbearable to look at South Korea's servile attitude of thanking Trump as if the results of inter-Korean talks happened because of their international sanctions and pressures," said the report. "We will work hard to improve North-South relationship but we will not sit by and tolerate foul actions that pour cold water on our effort."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312926

Reported Deaths: 7226
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21474257
Hinds20271414
Harrison17796309
Rankin13561278
Jackson13404246
Madison10062217
Lee9961173
Jones8364163
Forrest7644152
Lauderdale7178240
Lowndes6366144
Lamar621286
Lafayette6168118
Washington5322133
Bolivar4796132
Oktibbeha461198
Panola4556105
Pearl River4494145
Marshall4396103
Warren4376121
Pontotoc419372
Monroe4094133
Union408876
Neshoba4024176
Lincoln3947110
Hancock377086
Leflore3487125
Sunflower335790
Tate332384
Pike3294105
Scott315273
Alcorn311568
Yazoo310669
Itawamba299377
Copiah296065
Simpson294488
Coahoma294279
Tippah287668
Prentiss279360
Marion268780
Adams266082
Leake265573
Wayne262341
Grenada260186
Covington256381
George246748
Newton245961
Winston226881
Tishomingo225567
Jasper220848
Attala214173
Chickasaw207157
Holmes188673
Clay184754
Stone181833
Tallahatchie178140
Clarke177879
Calhoun169832
Yalobusha163336
Smith162234
Walthall133845
Greene130333
Lawrence128323
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry125838
Amite122842
Carroll121728
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis106932
Tunica104726
Claiborne102230
Benton99025
Humphreys96133
Kemper95328
Franklin83423
Quitman80016
Choctaw76018
Wilkinson66930
Jefferson65428
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 530011

Reported Deaths: 10946
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson763591519
Mobile40875804
Madison34676503
Tuscaloosa25717451
Montgomery24308585
Shelby23389248
Baldwin21093307
Lee15844169
Calhoun14481313
Morgan14281279
Etowah13813353
Marshall12203222
Houston10553280
Elmore10036205
Limestone9952150
Cullman9647193
St. Clair9634239
Lauderdale9413241
DeKalb8821185
Talladega8210175
Walker7222277
Autauga6914108
Jackson6803111
Blount6645136
Colbert6291134
Coffee5503118
Dale4826111
Russell440038
Chilton4263111
Franklin425482
Covington4120117
Tallapoosa4006152
Escambia393276
Chambers3559123
Dallas3544151
Clarke350861
Marion3111100
Pike310177
Lawrence299898
Winston273772
Bibb260463
Marengo249164
Geneva248777
Pickens233760
Barbour230757
Hale222577
Butler215869
Fayette212062
Henry188744
Cherokee184345
Randolph179941
Monroe177040
Washington167039
Macon158650
Clay155956
Crenshaw151957
Cleburne148741
Lamar141834
Lowndes138553
Wilcox127029
Bullock123041
Conecuh110129
Perry107526
Coosa107128
Sumter104332
Greene92334
Choctaw60424
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 60°
Columbus
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 60°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 55°
Starkville
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 54°
High pressure will briefly dominate our weather forecast for Friday and Saturday. However, more low pressure moves into our area for the end of the weekend. This will bring back into our area some more chances for some rain and thunderstorms.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather