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These attempts to present the Olympics as a communist event because of North Korea's participation could make us an global laughingstock.

North Korea on Tuesday notified Seoul that its Samjiyon Orchestra will perform in the city of Gangneung near Pyeongchang on February 8, the day before the Olympics begin, and in Seoul on February 11.

Should it go ahead, it will not be the first time that the two countries have marched together at the Games. "We don't understand why they label the games the 'Pyongyang Olympics, '" Park Soo-hyun, a presidential spokesman, said in a televised statement.

The reconciliation mood between the Koreas began after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said in a New Year's speech that he was willing to send a delegation to the Olympics.

"North Korea, like any national Olympic committee, has the right and even obligation to take part in the Olympic Games", he said.

North Korea on Tuesday criticized the burning of its national flag and photos of its leader Kim Jong-un during a protest rally against its planned participation in the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in South Korea. "Let us come together to protect and expand [inter-Korean] dialogue, just as we would protect the flame of a candle from the wind", South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on January 22. South Korea has also sent a group of officials to North Korea to inspect preparations for a joint cultural event at the North's scenic Diamond Mountain and a practice session for the countries' non-Olympic skiers at the North's Masik ski resort.




Conservative protesters met a North Korean delegation led by one of the country's most popular singers, Hyon Song Wol, in Seoul Monday, shouting anti-Pyongyang slogans and burning an image of dictator Kim. Rather, he said, they should be called the Pyeonghwa, or peace, Olympics.

The unified team will compete under the name "Korea" while the remaining athletes will compete for their respective countries.

Some have derisively dubbed these Games the "Pyongyang Olympics", given how the few North Korean athletes, along with the cheerleaders and the art troupe that are also on the way to PyeongChang, have stolen the thunder of the host nation. "According to our contacts, it is highly probable that there will be a military parade on this day, however no one can guarantee these types of events until the morning of the possible parade date", its brochure said.

PyeongChang 2018 organizers say the ceremony will have the central themes of "harmony" and "convergence", appropriate themes given the diplomatic proposals that will bring North and South Koreans together for the Games.

Is it time to send a senior, respected US envoy to reside in Pyongyang and conduct face-to-face discussions to further convince North Korea that if it removes its nuclear weapons, relations with the United States and the world would rapidly improve?

To do this, the Moon administration believes the two Koreas need to build trust through dialogue. All of the athletes will be staying in the Gangneung Olympic Village, a PyeongChang 2018 official told Yonhap.

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