13:34 GMT29 September 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Kim Yong Nam, President of North Korea’s Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, and the ceremonial head of the country, will lead a high-level delegation to the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, the Yonhap news agency reported on Sunday.

    Pyongyang has informed Seoul that the 22-member delegation will arrive for a three-day visit to Pyeongchang on Friday, the agency stated, citing officials from South Korea's Unification Ministry.

    Participation of North Korea in the upcoming games has been in question until Pyongyang and Seoul agreed on the issue on January 9.

    Earlier in the day, Pyongyang has accused the United States of hindering the rapprochement between the Koreas.

    READ MORE: Pyongyang Accuses Trump of Hindering Efforts to Mend Ties With South

    North Korea's Participation in Olympics

    After a four-party meeting between North, South Korea, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and organizing committee of the 2018 Olympics in the Swiss city of Lausanne on January 20, the IOC declared that the unified Olympic team of the two Korean states will take part in women's ice hockey under a "unification flag", while athletes from North Korea will compete in figure skating, short track and skiing.

    Besides, the two countries’ national teams will march together under a "unification flag" at the Olympics opening ceremony.

    The sports issue became a point of rapprochement between the Koreas after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's New Year address. In the speech, he voiced his support of the idea to send country's athletes to the Olympics.

    However, the rapprochement didn't go so smooth: despite initial plans of North Korea to send performers to the Olympics, Pyongyang has canceled their participation on January 29, citing the South Korean media, which, according to the North, was undermining the sincere efforts undertaken by the DPRK in connection with the Olympics and denouncing the festivities to be held in North Korea.

    READ MORE: North Korea Cancels Joint Performance With South, Blaming Media

    The conflict between the neighboring countries has been raging since the end of the World War II, when they got separated. The situation on the Korean Peninsula has further escalated last year, as North Korea continued its missile and nuclear tests, despite the opposition of neighboring states and their allies.

    delegation, 2018 Winter Olympic Games, Kim Yong-nam, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), Pyeongchang, South Korea
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