Koreas to send joint cheering squad to Olympics


South and North Korea agreed Monday to send a 300-strong joint cheering squad to the Beijing Olympic Games in early August, the Unification Ministry said.

One hundred and fifty people from each side will travel across the heavily armed border by train to Beijing, it said.

The agreement was made by working-level officials at a one-day meeting in Kaesong, a North Korean border city.

The two sides agreed to hold another round of talks to discuss the details of sending the joint cheering squad, the ministry said in a news release.

Hailed as a symbol of inter-Korean peace and reconciliation, the cross-border railway was reconnected in May last year for the first time in 56 years. It was severed in the early stage of the 1950-53 Korean War.

The two Koreas agreed during the second summit of their leaders in October to transport the joint cheering contingent to the Aug. 8-24 Olympics using the Gyeongui railway, which is linked to the Chinese railway system.

South Korea also hopes to connect the railway to the Trans Siberian and Trans Chinese railways so products from the world’s 13th biggest economy can be transported to Europe at lower costs and in less time.

Yoo Sang-il, a member of the Korean Olympic Committee, led the three-member South Korean delegation to the talks. Yoo’s North Korean counterpart was Hwang Chol, a department director of the North’s Council for National Reconciliation.


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