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Joint Olympic march will give N Korea a ‘taste of freedom’: US

Thursday, Jan 18, 2018,15:43 IST By anju A A A

Washington | The US has said it hopes that North Korea’s decision to participate in the Winter Olympics, along with South Korea, will give it a “taste of freedom” and its leadership would see the value in ending its international isolation over its nuclear ambitions.

For the first time in over a decade, the two Koreas yesterday agreed to march together under a single flag at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics Games, to be held in Pyeongchang in South Korea later this year, in a show of unity and further sign of easing tensions on the peninsula amid growing diplomatic negotiations between the two countries.

They also decided to field a united women’s ice hockey team.
The two nations have previously been represented under the same flag at an international sporting event at the 2006 Winter Olympics and at the 2007 Asian Winter Games.

“We see this as an opportunity for the regime to see the value of ending its international isolation via denuclearisation. We still are very much focused and hope that that happens,” the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at her daily news conference yesterday.

She was responding to questions on the decision of North Korea to send its athletes to participate in Winter Olympics along with South Korea.

“This isn’t the first time that the two countries have marched together. We hope that this experience gives North Korea and its athletes a small taste of freedom, and that rubs off and is something that spreads and impacts in these negotiations and in these conversations,” Sanders said.

Tensions between North Korea, its neighbours and the US have been high after Pyongyang carried out multiple missile launches last year, including a number of ICBMs, and its sixth atomic test, by far its most powerful to date.

Pyongyang had ramped up its efforts to become a nuclear power despite a raft of international sanctions.