North Korean athletes will be "allowed to cross the demilitarized zone into South Korea to compete at next year's Winter Olympics," PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Games President Lee Hee-beom said on Thursday, according to Martyn Herman of REUTERS. The Korean peninsula has been split by the 4km-wide "no-go zone" since '53 with "millions of troops massed either side." There is "no movement of people in either direction." But in a "symbolic act," Lee said that North Korean athletes would be "free to arrive by road despite current heightened tension between the nations." Lee added that the Olympics "provided an opportunity to thaw relations." Lee: "South Korea will welcome North Korea and when they decide to come, the South Korean government will allow them to come by road and when they have supporting teams the Korean government will allow them to come by ship. All nations are very welcome, including North Korea and Russia. We want it to be the peace Games" (REUTERS, 5/18).