N Korean ice hockey team arrives in South
The Pyeongchang Winter Games have triggered an apparent rapprochement on the divided peninsula, where tensions have been high over the nuclear-armed North’s weapons ambitions. But the unified women’s team has provoked controversy in the South, with accusations that Seoul is depriving some of its own players of the chance to compete at the Olympics for political purposes.
Since the division of the peninsula the two Koreas have only competed as unified teams in 1991, when their women won the team gold at the world table tennis championship in Japan, and their under-19 footballers reached the world championship quarter-finals in Portugal.
Concerns have been expressed in the South that the sudden addition of so many players so close to the competition -- for which South Korea qualified as hosts, rather than on merit -- will disrupt team chemistry.
Public anger has also been fanned by senior Seoul officials who sought to justify the decision on the grounds that the women’s team had no real medal chances anyway.