The South Korea men's handball team took home bronze at the recent Asian Games but have never played alongside their North Korean counterparts ©Getty Images

Officials have announced that a joint-Korean delegation at the 2019 International Handball Federation (IHF) World Men's Handball Championships will be allowed to have an additional four players in their squad.

The South Korean team qualified for the Championships after claiming bronze at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta in September.

However, North Korea did not qualify and are significantly lower ranked than their Southern counterparts.

The Korea Handball Federation (KHF) said that the IHF was behind the idea to field a joint Korean men's team at the Championships in the latest example of sport being used as a peacemaking tool on the peninsula.

The IHF think it would generate more interest in the event, Yonhap has reported.

To compensate for the arrangement, the IHF have allowed the joint Korean team to add four extra players to their roster, who will come from North Korea.

Twenty-four teams will attend the Championships, to be co-hosted by Germany and Denmark from January 10 to 27, and each other squad will send 16 players.

The KHF reportedly refused to cut South Korean players from their team so the agreement to allow extra players was reached.

The joint Korean team have been drawn in Group A alongside France, Russia, Serbia, Brazil and Germany.

A joint Korea team competed in the women's ice hockey event at Pyeongchang 2018 and were supported by fans waving the unified flag ©Getty Images
A joint Korea team competed in the women's ice hockey event at Pyeongchang 2018 and were supported by fans waving the unified flag ©Getty Images

The four groups contain six teams each for the opening round-robin stage.

The top three teams from each will then advance into two groups of six, where only the top two teams will qualify for the semi-finals.

It has also been reported that talks concerning a joint team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will not begin until one of the countries qualifies through regional competitions.

The joint handball team joins a list of sporting events where the two Koreas have competed together.

Unified teams competed at the World Judo Championships as well as in three sports - dragon boat racing, lightweight rowing and women's basketball - at the Asian Games.

The unified Korean dragon boat team made history as they claimed gold in the women's 500 metres race.

The joint Korean side also won a silver medal in basketball and a silver and bronze in canoeing.

The two nations historically came together at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, marching under a unified flag at the Opening Ceremony and competing on a joint women's ice hockey team for the first time in Olympic history.

Both countries are still technically at war following years of tension.