20 January 2018

Koreas edge towards joint Olympic team

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is weighing up whether to allow a joint North-South Korean team at next month's Winter Games, said Pyongyang's IOC representative on Saturday. reports citing AA.

"The IOC is considering it," Chang Ung was quoted by Yonhap News Agency as saying at Beijing's Capital International Airport on his return from talks with IOC President Thomas Bach in Switzerland this week.

Chang refused to confirm whether North Korea was keen on forming a joint team as proposed by the South during breakthrough talks last Tuesday.

The first inter-Korean dialogue in over two years came after the North's leader Kim Jong-un used his New Year's Day address to declare Pyongyang's interest in participating in the Winter Olympics at the South Korean venue of PyeongChang from Feb. 9.

North Korea had boycotted the only previous Olympic Games on the peninsula in 1988.

On Friday, Seoul's Vice Sports Minister Roh Tae-kang revealed South Korea was suggesting they join forces in women's hockey despite local concerns that unifying the two sides could hurt athletes from the South, who have spent years preparing to represent their country at the Olympics.

The Koreas are expected to discuss related issues further before attending a multilateral meeting to be chaired by the IOC on Jan. 20.

South Korea's Unification Ministry announced Saturday that the North had offered to hold working-level talks on Monday, specifically on the issue of sending a performance group to PyeongChang 2018.

The South had earlier asked for a meeting covering a wider range of talking points, but may have to wait until later next week.

2018.01.13 / 20:59
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