North Korea cancels joint performance with South Korea

On Monday, South Korea’s Unification Ministry reported that North Korea has decided to cancel the joint cultural performance between the North and the South, scheduled for the 4th of February and is blaming South Korean media for encouraging “insulting” public sentiment with regards to Pyongyang.

Seoul announced that this decision was “regrettable” but highlighted that Pyongyang must uphold all agreements between the two neighbors.

This seems to be the first bump on the road, as inter-Korean relations seem to be improving ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics, which will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Although, no significant progress has been achieved on a matter of core issues, Kim Jong-Un’s overture on New Year’s Eve ended a two-year period of radio silence. Channels of communication were re-established and the two delegations will march together under a common flag during the Games’ opening ceremony, after an agreement was reached allowing athletes from North Korea to participate, following the approval granted by the International Olympic Committee.

The athletes seem to be taking this rapprochement in the spirit of the Olympics in stride. Following the talks, it was decided that there would be a joint women’s hockey team, which only yesterday finished its first training session. Even though North and South have formed joint teams in the past for world championships, it’s the first time this will happen at an Olympic event.

Furthermore, a team of South Korea officials inspected the luxurious North Korean Massik Pass ski resort, which will host North and South Korean skiers as they train ahead of the opening ceremony. Likewise, North Korean officials, last week wrapped up a three-day visit, during which time they examined Olympic stadiums, hotels and concert halls that will host the North Korean delegation.

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