• It will be the first time North and South Korea have sent a unified team to the Olympics.
  • The North Korean delegation also includes a 140-member orchestra. Kim Jong-un's favourite band Moranbong may also perform.

North and South Korea are planning on sending a joint women's ice hockey team to the Winter Olympics in Seoul next month.

Officials from both countries met for the second time this week to discuss plans for North Korea's participation in the Games.

South Korea hopes the North's involvement will calm tensions between the two nations, which have been particularly fraught over the past year due to Pyongyang's nuclear and missile tests.

On Monday (15 January), the two countries agreed that North Korea's delegation will include a 140-member orchestra.

Kim Jong-un's favourite band, the female group Moranbong, may also perform. Moranbong play a mix of western cover songs and propaganda songs praising Kim's regime.

The orchestra will perform in Seoul and Gangneung, a city 240km east of the capital where some of the competitions will be held. It will be the North's first performance in South Korea since 2002, when Pyongyang sent a delegation of 30 singers and dancers to Seoul for a joint event.

Following the meeting, South Korean Sports Ministry spokesman Hwang Seong Un said that the two Koreas had also agreed to send a joint women's ice hockey team to the Games.

The proposal awaits approval from the International Olympic Committee. If realised, it would be the first time North and South Korea have sent a unified team to any Olympics.

James Hoare, Associate Fellow on the Asia Programme at Chatham House, told IBTimes UK: "As to why there might be a joint team , I suspect that this is to do with both sides trying to present a reasonable face to the world, with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea trying to diffuse some of the international pressure that it is currently facing."

"But with four weeks to go, there are likely to be many ups and downs. It might happen but I would not count too much on it," he said.

South Korean delegation Olympics
In this handout image provided by the South Korean Unification Ministry, the head of South Korean delegation Lee Woo-sung, front, crosses to the North Korea side for the meeting on 15 January 2018 in Panmunjom, North Korea. South Korean Unification Ministry via Getty Images