South Korea asks North to explain canceled visit

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On a Saturday morning with the temperature near freezing, North and South Korean Olympic leaders received a warm welcome at IOC headquarters in Lausanne for a meeting on the participation of the North in the PyeongChang Winter Games. "The Olympic Winter Games are hopefully opening the door to a brighter future on the Korean peninsula".

Earlier in December, the IOC chose to ban Russian Federation from the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, after an over-17-month IOC investigation "confirmed the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russian Federation during the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, as well as the various levels of administrative, legal and contractual responsibility".

North and South then reached a deal on a set of momentous compromises, including having delegations from both countries march together at the opening ceremony and the formation of a unified women's hockey team. Only 22 players will be allowed to participate in any game, however, and at least three players from each national Olympic committee must be present at each game.

The IOC also made a decision to allow the North Korean figure staking pairs team of Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik to compete in the Olympics. The other sports are figure skating, short track speedskating, Alpine skiing and cross-country skiing. The athletes will be accompanied by 24 coaches and officials.

The world's perception of North Koreans shouldn't be aligned with its perception of Jong-un.

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Some 20 countries, mostly those which joined the U.S. in its aggressive war against North Korea in the 1950s, participated in the meeting on January 15-16.

Unified women's ice hockey - 12 players and one official from North Korea will be added to the existing South Korea squad of 23 players.

The two sides also agreed to pursue closer inter-Korean ties and exchange as well as hold military talks to defuse tension on the peninsula.

With about three weeks left until the Olympics, Pyongyang's abrupt cancellation late Friday has raised concerns that preparations for the North's participation at the Winter Olympics might not be smooth sailing. "Today is a great moment for the Olympic Movement, because the Olympic spirit has brought us all together".

North Korea is due to send a delegation which will consist of around 550 members including 230 cheerleaders, 140 artists and 30 Taekwondo fighters, to South Korea on January 25.

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