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South Korean athletes compete at international sports event in North Korea for first time

South Korea

In this Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013 image taken from video, a South Korean athlete carries the country’s national flag at the opening ceremony for the 2013 Asian Cup and Interclub Weightlifting Championship in Pyongyang, North Korea. South Korean athletes marched with their national flag at the start of the international competition in North Korea, something of a milestone for two countries that have exchanged war threats this year. (AP Photo/AP Video)

AP

The photo to the right is a significant one. It’s a South Korean athlete carrying his flag into the opening ceremony of the 2013 Asian Cup and Interclub Weightlifting Championship in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Thursday.

North Korea allowed South Koreans to march in with their flag and to have their national anthem play should they win gold, according to reports. It’s the first time South Koreans have competed at an international sporting event in North Korea.

There has long been tension between the two countries. In Olympic terms, the most recent was North Korea offering to host some Olympic skiing events for the 2018 Pyeongchang Games in South Korea. That offer was rejected.

The South Korean delegation at the Pyongyang event includes a reported 41 athletes, officials and others.

The last time South Korean athletes competed in North Korea was 2008, when a youth football team played a friendly, according to reports. North and South Korea have marched together at the opening ceremony of some recent Olympics.

Pyeongchang South Korean Olympic champion archer uses bow and arrow for ceremonial first pitch

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