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N. Korean Olympic team attends welcome ceremony

Members of the North Korean Olympic team watch a performance during a welcome ceremony at the Olympic Village ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, on Feb. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

GANGNEUNG, South Korea (Kyodo) -- Members of the North Korean Olympic team participating in the Pyeongchang Winter Games attended a welcome ceremony Thursday at the athletes' village in Gangneung, eastern South Korea.

    Among the other North Korean participants were costume-clad cheerleaders who had crossed the land border into the South the previous day.

    As a throng of reporters from at home and abroad looked on, the cheerleaders played some music, including a pop tune that was composed by a North Korean and is also well-known in the South.

    The North has sent a contingent of athletes and coaches to the Winter Olympics, including those who will compete in alpine and cross-country skiing, and figure and short-track skating.

    North and South Korea will march together under one flag at Friday's opening ceremony and field a unified women's ice hockey team.

    The North has also sent an art troupe and a taekwondo demonstration team to the South. The 140-member Samjiyon art troupe will hold concerts in Gangneung later Thursday and in Seoul on Sunday to celebrate the games, which will run through Feb. 25.

    A high-level delegation led by the North's ceremonial leader Kim Jong Nam that also includes leader Kim Jong Un's younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, is set to make a three-day visit to the South starting Friday.

    The North Korean dispatch of athletes to the Olympics and others for related activities comes after Kim Jong Un struck a conciliatory tone on ties with the South in his New Year's address.

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