North and South Korean athletes will march under one flag at the Winter Olympics, a move Seoul has said could help thaw years of tension

HONG KONG — North and South Korea agreed on Wednesday to march their athletes together under one flag at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics next month and to field a joint women’s ice hockey team. It was the most dramatic gesture of reconciliation between them in a decade.

South Korea, host of the games, has said it hopes such a partnership in sports could contribute to a political thaw after years of high tensions. It came even as the prospect of war over the North’s nuclear and missile tests has grown especially acute.

The Games will begin on Feb. 9 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the women’s ice-hockey squad will be the first combined Korean team for the Olympics, and the first unified team since their athletes played together for an international table-tennis championship and a youth soccer tournament in 1991.