The opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics will be held in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang. The teams have decided to march under a single flag which was used in 2006 at the Winter Olympics in Italy. The flag is blue in color against a white background and depicts the Korean peninsula and surrounding islands.

Sky News reports that North Korea has agreed to send a 550-member delegation that will consist of cheerleaders, artists and taekwondo players who will demonstrate the art. North Korea will bring along its orchestra to perform in the Games, and a joint women's ice hockey team will add to the attraction.

The participants are expected to arrive in South Korea by the end of January.

Japan is keeping an open mind

North Korea is technically still at war with South Korea after the 1950-53 conflict that ended in a truce but has not led to any peace in the Korean peninsula. The nuclear programs of Kim Jong-un have aggravated the situation and the UN slapped sanctions on the regime to check its designs of harming the United States and its allies.

However, Kim has set in motion a peace of sorts by reactivating the hotline with Seoul after two years and agreeing to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in the South. The two sides have already begun talks to ease the tense situation.

Japan is an ally of the United States and has its reservations about the true intentions of Pyongyang.

Its foreign minister Taro Kono believes that the time has not yet come to celebrate the about-turn of Kim’s regime. In his opinion, the reason for the change in attitude could be attributed to the sanctions imposed on it.

Peace must return

Kim Jong-un had kept the whole world on tenterhooks by the regular testing of his nuclear missiles and threatening to attack the United States and its allies.

North Korea sent a couple of missiles flying over Japan and identified a few probable American targets. It also detonated an H-bomb that could be disastrous. To counter the threat, America positioned the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea and moved its warships into the peninsula. There were growing fears of a direct conflict which have apparently receded.

When Moon Jae-in took over as president of South Korea, he wanted to reunify the two Koreas and the 2018 Winter Olympics has provided him with an opportunity. It is quite possible that the UN sanctions have forced Pyongyang to search for peace, but it remains to be seen whether the Games will help to bring normalcy to the region.