Russia: Vancouver meeting is aggravating situation around North Korea

Russia: Vancouver meeting is aggravating situation around North Korea

Russia: Vancouver meeting is aggravating situation around North Korea

The two countries also agreed on Wednesday that their skiing teams would train together in the Masikryong ski resort in North Korea.

North Korea is due to send a delegation which will consist of around 550 members including 230 cheerleaders, 140 artists and 30 Taekwondo fighters, to South Korea on January 25. It said the North also plans to send a 150-strong delegation to the Paralympics in March.

South and North Korea agreed to march together under a unified flag during the opening ceremony for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

North Korea demanded that defectors from a 2016 incident be returned from South Korea as a precondition for the revival of cross-border reunions, as negotiators tried to hammer out a deal for the North's participation in February's PyeongChang Olympics.

North Korea has agreed to send athletes to the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea, but the Olympics have always been a window into geopolitics between the two sides.

While engagement between the two Koreas is at its highest level in years, North Korea has held a hard line on certain issues.

China and Russian Federation, which fought alongside the North in the Korean War and were not invited to Vancouver, criticized the meeting.

South and North Korea played against each other in the lower tier of the 2017 world championship.

"In any case, what we should have in mind is that North Korea continues to advance its nuclear and missile programs, even as we speak, and we should not be naïve about their intent", Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said.

At the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics and the 2006 Winter Olympics, a joint North-South delegation marched under the Korean unification flag, although the two countries competed under their own national flags.

However, he said the threat posed by North Korea was growing.

"We should not be naive about their intent", he said.

Some conservative critics say North Korea's cheering and artistic squads are too big, and worry the North may try to steal the show at the Olympics to launch what they call a "peace offensive". "The North Koreans know our channels are open and they know where to find us", he said, later adding: "It's time to talk, but they have to take the step that says they want to talk".

The Russian Foreign Ministry said top diplomats from Moscow and Beijing had not been invited to the meeting, which was made up of countries that backed South Korea during the 1950-53 Korea War, and that the events were damaging the authority of the United Nations.

More than 100 petitions have been sent to South Korea's presidential Blue House website opposing a joint Olympics team.