Figure skaters Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik, the only North Koreans to qualify for the Winter Olympics, missed the registration deadline and must now rely on a helping hand from the International Olympic Committee, officials said Wednesday.
The International Skating Union (ISU) said that the pair had met "the necessary technical requirements" to take part in the February 9-25 Games in Pyeongchang.
"However, the PRK (North Korea) National Olympic Committee has not confirmed the participation of the pair within the set deadline and the available quota place has consequently been transferred to the next in line, Japan," said an ISU statement.
"In the case of a formal PRK NOC request for a late entry, the matter would have to be referred to the IOC for a final decision relating to the late entry as well as the increase of participants in the 2018 Olympic pair skating competition."
The ISU announcement came on the day that it was confirmed officials from North and South Korea will meet at the IOC's headquarters in Lausanne on January 20 to hammer out the details of the North's participation at next month's Winter Games, the IOC said Wednesday.
"The participants will be a delegation from the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee and delegations from the (Olympic committees) of the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), all led by their respective presidents, as well as high-ranking government officials and the IOC members in both countries," the IOC said.