Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said yesterday he welcomed the recent dialogue between North and South Korea but marching together at the Winter Olympics won't denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
The North did not give a reason for the cancellation, the Unification Ministry said.
So far, the plan is for the two teams to march together in the opening ceremonies-under a white flag with a blue map of the entire Korean peninsula.
"It is a positive sign that the North Koreans are participating in the Olympics, but also very clearly from our military leaders ... they're not refraining from continuing to move forward with their efforts to solve the final problems with being able to nuclearize an intercontinental ballistic missile that can hit the American homeland", Sen.
Moon countered that North Korea's participation at Pyeongchang "will serve as a chance to warm solidly frozen South-North ties".
During an annual New Year's Day speech, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made overtures towards the South, which led to the staging of the first high-level inter-Korean meeting since December 2015.
Two of its figure skaters initially qualified for the Games, for example, and it's also possible that the two nations might dress an inter-Korean women's hockey team.
The North notified the South that it will suspend the seven-member team's trip slated for Saturday to check the venues for its proposed art performances in Seoul and Gangnueng, 260 kilometers east of the capital, the ministry said. It boycotted the last Olympics held in South Korea, in the summer of 1988, though it has attended a few worldwide sporting events hosted by its neighbor in recent years. "Even if you don't use nuclear weapons, there are literally dug-in artillery and missile sites on the other side of that DMZ that will begin with, in the initial hours of any type of response from North Korea, a hundred thousand dead". The South is hoping to allow families separated during the North Korean war back in 1950-1953 to reunite. "The fact that North Korea is engaging in dialogue could be interpreted as proof that the sanctions are working". She said the universal view she heard was that the USA should keep up a strong defense alliance "to hold the peace for one more day so the diplomats can do their job for yet another day".
Besides the drills, the USA has positioned both its nuclear-capable bombers in Guam for the second time ever, just a short flight from North Korea.
IOC President Thomas Bach will chair a four-party meeting Saturday to discuss the North's presence at the February 9-25 games, the first Winter Games to take place in South Korea.
While the overall number of North Korean athletes has yet to be decided, the existing South Korean ice hockey squad of 22 players will have to be expanded, possibly to 35, to accommodate them - an arrangement criticised by their Canadian coach, Sarah Murray.
The IOC will try to finalize protocols related to North Korea's participation, such as the country's flag, uniform and anthem.
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