Seoul, Jan 17: North Korea and South Korea have agreed to form a combined women's ice hockey team to take part in next month's Winter Olympics in the South, and march together under a unified peninsula flag at the opening ceremony, a joint statement released by Seoul's unification ministry said.
North Korea will send a 550-member delegation of about 550, including 230 cheerleaders, 140 artists and 30 Taekwondo players for a demonstration, the statement said. The delegation is scheduled to begin arriving in South Korea on January 25, the statement said.
Seoul has long sought to proclaim the event a "peace Olympics" in the face of tensions over the North's weapons programmes -- which have seen it subjected to multiple UN Security Council sanctions -- and the discussions represent a marked improvement.
"Inter-Korean relations have been strained for almost 10 years," the North's chief delegate Jon Jong-Su said as the meeting started on the southern side of the border truce village of Panmunjom. "We hope that ties can open," he added.