On Jan. 17, North and South Korea announced that they will be marching together under one flag at this year’s Winter Olympics. They also agreed to compete with a joint women’s ice hockey team. This unexpected show of unity comes at a time where tensions are high due to Kim Jong Un’s nuclear program.
Since the games are going to be held in South Korea, the two countries will enter the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang together—under a single flag. This has not happened in 27 years.
Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, said that they have been working on getting an agreement for both countries to compete as one for the South Korea games since 2014. The agreement was finally singed on Saturday.
“I’m sure it will be a very emotional moment, not just for all Koreans, but also for the entire world.” He also described the agreement as being in the “true Olympic spirit of respect and friendship.”
According to Olympic officials, North Korea will send 22 athletes and 24 coaches and officials. The joint women’s ice hockey team will be the first time the two countries will compete as one team. Along with the team, some activities will be conducted in North Korea, including training for skiers from both countries and a joint cultural event.
At the meeting for the International Olympic Committee, Bach said he said he hoped the Olympics would “open the world for a brighter future on the Korean peninsula.”