Korea to send 22 athletes to Pyeongchang Olympics

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"The US, in collusion with Canada, created the scene of war simulation by summoning the foreign ministers' meeting of the countries participated in the Korean War", Xinhua quoted an official from the North Korean Foreign Ministry as saying.

It was unclear whether the cancellation cast any doubt over the preparations for the North's participation in next months Winter Olympics in South Korea's Pyeongchang, an apparent diplomatic breakthrough after months of high tension over the North's nuclear and missile program.

With the Winter Olympics slated to kick off in just three weeks in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang, a bicycle run began a little past noon Friday in the border city of Paju in the northwest of the country.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said there would be a combined Korean team competing for the first time with athletes from both countries forming a joint women's ice hockey team.

Only 22 players will be able to participate in each game.

Figure Skating: The IOC allocated an additional quota place, after the registration deadline had expired, to the qualified figure skating pair (RYOM Tae-ok and KIM Ju-sik) from the NOC of the DPRK.

In short track speed skating, Jong Kwang-bom in the men's 1,500 meters and Choe Un-song in the men's 500 meters will represent North Korea. The athletes will be accompanied by 24 coaches and officials.

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The two sides affirmed the position during a meeting between South Korean Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo-suk and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan, according to a Pentagon statement.

Security Council measures now prohibit cash transfers to the North, while the United Nations has also drawn up a blacklist of officials tied to the Stalinist Pyongyang regime, individuals whose presence at the Games will create potential stumbling blocks.

Twelve players would be added to the existing South Korean women's ice hockey squad of 23.

While it has clearly opened doors, perhaps we should remain cautious and see whether there is lasting progress - beyond any show for the world's cameras under the Olympic rings.

Any "necessary technical equipment" will be provided to athletes by the IOC in "cooperation with the International Federations", and will be made available on site.

The rival Koreas earlier this week agreed that the little-known 140-member art troupe, Samjiyon, which will include singers, dancers and orchestra members, will perform twice in South Korea during the Games in a sign of warming ties between the countries. But he expressed optimism that the first Winter Olympics in Korea will help bring peace to the region.

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