Korean businessmen pushing to visit N. Korea after PyeongChang Olympics

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The rivals have also agreed to jointly march under a "unification" flag during the February 9 opening ceremony and for a North Korean art troupe to perform in Seoul and Gangneung, which will host the skating, hockey and curling events.

The Koreas came to an agreement on the joint march last Wednesday, and Bach chaired a meeting involving representatives from both sides Saturday and approved the Koreas' request for their first joint march at an Olympics since 2006. A team of North Korean officials finished a similar trip to the South on Monday, to review potential venues for performances by North Korean artists.

They were “traitors and psychopaths” whose actions amounted to “defaming the dignity of the supreme leadership”, said Ri Myong, of the Democratic Front for the Reunification of Korea, which is linked to the authorities in the North.

But North Korean leader Kim Jong-un changed all that by offering to send an athletic delegation to PyeongChang during his New Year's message. Party lawmaker Na Kyung-won even sent the International Olympic Committee (IOC) a letter expressing her opposition to the unified team.

Seoul and the Games organisers have sought to promote Pyeongchang as a “Peace Olympics” to open a door for dialogue with the nuclear-armed North, which has traded threats with the U.S. over the past year. The two countries have clashed in recent weeks after South Korea said a 2015 deal on the sex slaves was flawed.

South and North Korea will march in together behind the Korean Unification Flag, which bears the image of a blue Korean Peninsula against white background.

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"And the most important value we want to deliver through the ceremonies is peace", said executive creative director of Olympic Ceremonies Seung Whan Song.

South Korea's presidential office on Tuesday also released a statement seeking public support for North Korea's participation in the PyeongChang Games and reiterated President Moon Jae-in's position that it will bring about stability and peace on the Korean peninsula. A Pyeongchang organizing committee official said nothing has been decided. As such, any reasonable measure, such as a joint Olympic Korean team, should be treated as a viable opportunity toward a meaningful resolution.

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In announcing that North Korean athletes will compete in PyeongChang, the IOC also said it will provide any necessary technical equipment for those athletes in cooperation with their sports' worldwide federations.

To do this, the Moon administration believes the two Koreas need to build trust through dialogue. Experts say the move risks giving Kim's heavily sanctioned government legitimacy and some much-needed cash. All of the athletes will be staying in the Gangneung Olympic Village, a PyeongChang 2018 official told Yonhap.

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