In a move for peace, a group of North Korean female athletes, together with national officials, crossed the heavily guarded border to join their southern counterparts and form an Olympic ice hockey team.
The twelve North Koreans, dressed in red and white winter gear arrived in South Korea Thursday morning, sporting the nation’s logo “DPR Korea,” in refrenece to the country's official name the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, in the monumental juncture.
In honor of the Pyeongchang Winter Games, the two nations join forces to create their first-ever unified Olympic teams. Under an agreement worked out during the first official talks between the two Koreas in two years, the joint team will wear unity jerseys and march under a unified peninsula flag at the Games’ opening ceremony on Feb. 9.
Following a meeting between governmental and political parties, North Korean officials expressed their interest in promoting “contact, travel, cooperation between North and South Korea”. Officials from the neighboring nations said they would actively work towards acquiring a peaceful climate and ease military tensions.
The South Korean government has continued to defend their northern counterparts amidst allegations of attempts to “hijack” the Winter Olympics with propaganda campaigns. However, Washington continues to apply pressure as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence stated Tuesday he plans to use his attendance at the Winter Olympics to counter Kim Jong-un’s attempts to "control" the event.
Washington has been tightening sanctions on isolated North Korea as it imposed Wednesday fresh sanctions on nine entities, 16 people and six North Korean ships it accused of helping the weapons programs. It also urged China and Russia, North Korea’s main allies, to expel North Koreans raising funds for the programs.