North and South Korea will march beneath a single “unified Korea” flag and field a joint women's ice hockey team at next month's Winter Olympics, Reuters reported.
The event, which will be hosted in Pyeongchang, will take place between Feb. 9-27.
North Korea will also dispatch a 230 member cheerleading squad to the Olympic games in the neighboring South. The announcement was made by officials in Seoul following recent talks between the two countries.
Japanese officials, for their part, are wary over a thaw in relations between the Koreas, calling Pyongyang's attempts to ease tensions on the peninsula nothing more than a “charm offensive.”
Taro Kono, Japan's Foreign Minister, said “it is not the time to ease pressure, or to reward North Korea,” adding that North Korea's engagement in dialogue "could be interpreted as proof that the sanctions are working.”
Kono went on to say that the world should not be naive about North Korea’s “charm offensive” over the Olympics, according to Reuters.
However, North Korean state media advised the South against ruining attempts at unifying the Koreas.
“We will work actively to improve North-South Korean relations, but will not stand still to actions that are against unification,” the North’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper published.
South Korea previously suggested teaming up with North Korea to present a unified women's ice hockey team at next month's Winter Olympics. Roh Tae-Kang, South Korea's vice-minister for sport, said the idea emerged during recent talks between the divided Koreas, the first official dialogue between the two countries in more than two years.
South Korea's Unification Ministry said both sides exchanged opinions on several matters, including unified cultural events and the size of the North Korean athletics team.
During his New Year's address, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed willingness to establish dialogue with South Korea. At the time, he said he may send an athletic delegation to this year's Winter Olympics.
Officials in Seoul responded favorably, proposing talks with North Korea at the border truce village of Panmunjom on Jan. 9. North and South Korea also re-established a border hotline that had been disconnected for almost two years.