North and South Korea to march under single flag at Winter Olympics

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North Korea will send a large contingent of cheerleaders to next month's Winter Olympics, South Korea has announced, as the two sides prepare to present their plan for a "peace games" to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the weekend.

However, at the same time, North Korea has been building up its weapons.

Meanwhile, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said the world must not be naive about North Korea's "charm offensive" over the upcoming Winter Olympics.

According to an invitation sent to defense officials and their spouses, North Korea is planning to host "festival functions", which may include a military parade in the capital of Pyongyang, NK News reported.

'The fact that North Korea is engaging in dialogue could be interpreted as proof that the sanctions are working'.

In Washington, a senior U.S. official said that the meeting had been planned for months and sought to push back against the idea that it would aggravate tensions on the peninsula. South Korean media have predicted only up to 10 North Korean athletes will end up being covered by an additional quota from the IOC.

The announcement came after officials from the two Koreas held talks in the border village of Panmunjom on Wednesday.

White House supports short-term spending bill to avoid shutdown
The talks have not yet produced a solution and leaders hope the a stop-gap spending bill will give them more time to reach a deal. That means the odds of a shutdown starting at the end of the day Friday are going down, though not yet approaching zero.

They also agreed to have a joint women's ice hockey team.

Both Koreas have appeared together at the openings of previous Olympic Games, but this would be the first joint team in one sport. Online petitions calling on the presidential Blue House to withdraw the plan have collected thousands of signatures, and people are taking to social media to vent their frustration.

The ski resort is reportedly mostly empty, and the North Koreans are allowing a South Korean team of inspectors to check the facilities before training begins for the two teams.

"In the end, they are using this old tactic to get to Washington through Seoul".

Pyongyang has also not responded to the request made by Seoul on January 9 to hold a meeting in mid-February for families whose members were separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

The talks come as the United States and its allies vowed to keep pressure on the North.

More North Korean athletes could take part in the Olympics if they're added to the female hockey roster.

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