IOC President: NK to Participate In The Next Two Olympic Games

IOC President: NK to Participate In The Next Two Olympic Games

IOC President: NK to Participate In The Next Two Olympic Games

North Korea will participate in the next two Olympic Games, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach said Saturday after meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

After North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made a surprise visit to Beijing this week - his first known trip outside North Korea since taking power in 2011 - his engagement with the global community has sparked speculation that he may try to meet other leaders ahead of the summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and United States President Donald Trump. The IOC said Bach's trip would last until March 31, and came on the heels of an invitation extended by Pyongyang in January.

"They announced (to) us that they will definitely participate in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as well at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022" and all editions of the Youth Olympic Games, Bach said.

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Bach told reporters after landing in Beijing that his talks with Kim on Friday had been "very open and fruitful".

The meeting comes less than a week after Kim traveled to Beijing to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"And this commitment was fully supported by the supreme leader", he said.

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The paper quoted Kim as saying that he hopes to develop a cooperative relationship with the IOC.

"The IOC will make a proposal for a potential joint march, for potential other joint activities for Tokyo and maybe also for Beijing, at the appropriate time", he said. He added that Kim told him the North's participation in the Pyeongchang games and marching together with South Korean athletes were an "important contribution to a peaceful dialogue". "He explained that sport is a pillar in his policy for the future development of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea".

The South Korean and North Korean athletes walked as a joint team under one flag during the opening ceremony and the Games were seen to have eased tensions between the two nations. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said he is exploring the possibility of a meeting with Kim as well. Of the 22 North Korean athletes who competed in Pyeongchang, only two won places on merit and the other 20 were granted special spots by the IOC.

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Earlier in the day, President Bach met representatives of the DPRK NOC, led by its President, Kim Il-guk, who is also the country's Sports Minister.

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