North and South Korea have announced plans to march under the same flag at the 2018 Winter Olympics in February. And things are looking so chummy between the two countries that Kim Jong Un has even reportedly asked the South to train at his luxury ski resort.
The invitation to Masik Pass, the Kim regime’s fancy ski resort near the coastal city of Wonsan, North Korea, came Wednesday after the two countries decided to join forces at the games during the first high-level talks between the two nations in two years, which took place in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.
The resort has been controversial since it opened in 2013. Kids shovel snow off the roads to keep traffic moving, and Kim has used it as a venue to watch ballistic missile launches.
Three world-class snowboarders cancelled their trip to Masik after North Korea’s nuclear test in early 2016, but another snowboarder eventually made it to the resort. He had to lay flowers at the feet of a giant statue of Kim to be allowed to visit.
North and South Korea will compete separately in the games but will join forces in women’s hockey, despite protests from the South’s coach, who fears a joint team will harm South Korea’s chances to win a medal, according to the BBC.
The two countries will march under a unification flag, likely the same one used in the past, which depicts the Korean Peninsula that the countries share:
They have marched under that flag a few times before, for the first time at the World Table Tennis Championships in 1991. The first time they marched under a unified flag at the Olympics was in Sydney in 2000, and then they did so at every subsequent Olympics through 2006.
Japan, meanwhile, is urging skepticism on the prospects for reconciliation. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono warned attendees at an international meeting on North Korea not to be lured by the reclusive country’s “charm offensive” or public showing of detente while continuing to build up its nuclear arsenal.
Cover image: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the newly built ski resort in the Masik Pass region. (Photo via Reuters/KCNA)