North Korean athletes arrive in South Korea ahead of Winter Olympics

 

Female athletes representing North Korea in the 2018 Winter Olympics arrived in South Korea on Thursday, joining South Korea's competitors as they forge a "unified" women's hockey team.

The 12 North Korean hockey athletes arrived at South Korea's national training center in Jincheon after the International Olympic Committee allowed them to join their southern neighbor's 23-member team. The athletes from Kim Jong Un's rogue nation wore white and red parkas as they crossed the densely-fortified state border.

See images of the North Korean athletes as they arrive in South Korea:

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North Korean athletes arrive in South Korea
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North Korean athletes arrive in South Korea
North Korean women's ice hockey players arrive at the South Korea's national training center on January 25, 2018 in Jincheon, South Korea. REUTERS/Song Kyung-Seok/Pool
North Korean women's ice hockey players arrive at the South Korea's national training center on January 25, 2018 in Jincheon, South Korea. REUTERS/Song Kyung-Seok/Pool
REFILE - CORRECTING TYPO IN BYLINE North Korean women's ice hockey players arrive at the South Korea's national training center on January 25, 2018 in Jincheon, South Korea. REUTERS/Song Kyung-Seok/Pool
REFILE - ADDITIONAL INFORMATION?Sarah Murray (C), head coach of the combined women's ice hockey team is seen as North Korean women's ice hockey players arrive at the South Korea's national training center on January 25, 2018 in Jincheon, South Korea. REUTERS/Song Kyung-Seok/Pool
North Korean women's ice hockey players arrive at the South Korea's national training center on January 25, 2018 in Jincheon, South Korea. REUTERS/Song Kyung-Seok/Pool
Figure Skating - ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2018 - Pairs - Taipei, Taiwan - January 26, 2018 - Bronze medalists Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik of North Korea attend a news conference. REUTERS/Tyrone�Siu
Figure Skating - ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2018 - Pairs - Taipei, Taiwan - January 26, 2018 - Bronze medalists Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik of North Korea hug their coach after a news conference. REUTERS/Tyrone�Siu
PAJU, SOUTH KOREA - JANUARY 25: North Korean women's ice hockey players arrive at the CIQ (Customs, Immigration and Quarantine) office near the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating South and North Korea on January 25, 2018 in Paju, South Korea. (Photo by Korea Pool/Getty Images)
PAJU, SOUTH KOREA - JANUARY 25: North Korean women's ice hockey players arrive at the CIQ (Customs, Immigration and Quarantine) office near the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating South and North Korea on January 25, 2018 in Paju, South Korea. (Photo by Korea Pool/Getty Images)
PAJU, SOUTH KOREA - JANUARY 25: North Korean women's ice hockey players arrive at the CIQ (Customs, Immigration and Quarantine) office near the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating South and North Korea on January 25, 2018 in Paju, South Korea. (Photo by Korea Pool/Getty Images)
PAJU, SOUTH KOREA - JANUARY 25: North Korean women's ice hockey players arrive at the CIQ (Customs, Immigration and Quarantine) office near the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating South and North Korea on January 25, 2018 in Paju, South Korea. (Photo by Korea Pool/Getty Images)
A bus carrying North Korea's women's ice hockey players, who will form a unified Korean team at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, drives past the customs, immigration and quarantine office near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas in Paju on January 25, 2018. North Korea is contributing 12 players to the unified ice hockey squad, in addition to the original 23 South Korean skaters, the two Koreas and the International Olympic Committee agreed at the weekend. / AFP PHOTO / KOREA POOL / KOREA POOL / South Korea OUT (Photo credit should read KOREA POOL/AFP/Getty Images)
JINCHEON-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - JANUARY 26: In this handout image provided by the Joint Government Support Corps, North Korean women's ice hockey players talks with South Korean coach during their training at South Korea's national training center on January 26, 2018 in Jincheon-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Joint Government Support Corps via Getty Images)
JINCHEON-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - JANUARY 26: In this handout image provided by the South Korean Unification Ministry, South Korean women's hockey team players (R) talk with North Korean women's ice hockey team players (L) at the South Korea's national training center on January 26, 2018 in Jincheon-gun, South Korea. (Photo by South Korean Unification Ministry via Getty Images)
JINCHEON-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - JANUARY 26: In this handout image provided by the Joint Government Support Corps, North Korean women's ice hockey players training with Sarah Murray (C), head coach of the two Korea's unified women's ice hockey team at South Korea's national training center on January 26, 2018 in Jincheon-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Joint Government Support Corps via Getty Images)
JINCHEON-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - JANUARY 26: In this handout image provided by the South Korean Unification Ministry, South Korea and North Korea women's ice hockey team players meet at the South Korea's national training center on January 26, 2018 in Jincheon-gun, South Korea. (Photo by South Korean Unification Ministry via Getty Images)
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The IOC agreed to allow a total of 22 North Korean athletes to participate in the Games. They will compete in figure skating, short track speed skating, cross-country skiing, alpine skiing and ice hockey. 

Some South Korean citizens were angered by the decision to allow North Korean athletes to participate with South Korea, with some protesters setting fire to a North Korean flag and burning a picture of Kim Jong Un.

Ahead of the Winter Games, which will commence on Feb. 9, North Korea issued a statement on Thursday calling for efforts toward unification directed at "all Koreans at home and abroad."

North Korea first competed in the Olympics in 1964, and have competed in every Summer Games since, except when they boycotted the 1984 Games in Los Angeles and 1988 Games in Seoul. The nation has sent athletes to five Winter Games in the past 30 years, picking up a bronze medal in 1992.

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