By James Crook

North Korea have allowed South Korean athletes to march alongside their flag at a weightlifting event in PyongyangSeptember 12 - North Korea has allowed competitors from South Korea to march alongside their flag and have their national anthem played at the Asian Cup and Interclub Weightlifting Championship in Pyongyang in what is a significant milestone for the rival countries.

The move comes just months after political tension on the Korean Peninsula hit a high when North Korean leader Kim Jong-un urged foreigners to leave South Korea with an impending threat of nuclear warfare in April this year.

According to Government officials, this is the first time that South Korean athletes have competed at an international sporting event north of the border, marking somewhat of a breakthrough for the two countries that are still officially in a state of war after the Korean War of the early 1950's ended with a truce.

The South Korean Government has said it chose to send a 41-member delegation to the event at the Ryugyong Jong Ju Yong Indoor Stadium in the Northern capital as the event was organised by the Asian Weightlifting Federation (AWF) and because North Korea had guaranteed the safety of the team.

North Korea will also allow South Korean athletes to have their flag raised and their national anthem played during medal ceremonies.

Although tensions have now somewhat cooled since Kim threatened all-out war earlier this year, there are still fears over the intentions of the hermit kingdom after satellite images showed steam rising from an abandoned plutonium reactor earlier this week, leading American researchers to believe that it has been put back into use following six years of inactivity. 

The last time South Korean athletes competed in North Korea was in 2008 when a youth football team crossed the border to play a friendly match.

Gwangju 2015 is hopeful of uniting North and South Korean athletes to compete as one team at the Summer Universiade. 

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