International Olympic Committee approves North Korea's participation in Winter Video games

Jennifer Jones right and Kaitlyn Lawes left as they sit and watch their opponent during the women's curling semifinal game against Britain at the 2014 Winter Olympics in S

Appearing live on South Korean television, Hyon Song Wol didn't speak when she walked past a crowd of reporters, onlookers and a barrage of camera flashes before boarding an express train at Seoul's railway station for the eastern city of Gangneung, where her art troupe is to perform during the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The IOC had previously approved the two countries jointly participating in Olympic opening and closing ceremonies, something that happened during the Sydney Summer Games in 2000.But the South Korean Unification Ministry announced an unprecedented range of joint activities between the countries for the Games following talks Wednesday.

In Gangneung, the North Koreans will likely tour the Gangneung Arts Center and visit another candidate site in Seoul on Monday.

But the idea of marching under a flag symbolising a unified Korea has been rejected by many South Koreans who resent the perceived attempts by an undeserving North to steal the limelight at the high profile sports event.

"[The North] also said they expect a full consultation over the issues that were discussed at the inter-Korean working-level talks during the period of the preliminary inspection team's visit", the unification ministry added.

On January 9, Pyongyang and Seoul reached an agreement on the participation of North Korean athletes in the Olympics in South Korea's Pyeongchang due to take place from February 9 to February 25.

However, at about 10 p.m. on Friday, the North informed the South that the delegation would not be sent, without elaborating.

The countries also agreed to hold a joint cultural event at the North's scenic Diamond Mountain and a training session between non-Olympic skiers at the North's Masik ski resort ahead of the Olympics.

The second North Korean inspection team also plans to visit the South via the land route of the Gyeongui Line. In November, a North Korean soldier dashed across Panmunjom through a hail of bullets from fellow Communist troops to defect to the South.

(Standup) "With relations between the two Koreas showing signs of thawing there are hopes that this torch relay and other various efforts will help make the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games truly a "peace Olympics".

The announcements accompanied a North Korean delegation's visit to the South on Sunday.

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