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Koreas will discuss joint Olympic bid on Friday

Nov 01,2018
The two Koreas will hold a sports meeting this Friday at the inter-Korean liaison office just north of the border to discuss forming combined teams for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics and mount a joint bid for the 2032 Summer Games.

Seoul’s Unification Ministry said in a press release Wednesday that the North faxed a document on Tuesday that suggested the meeting be held in the North’s border city of Kaesong. Won Kil-u, the North’s vice minister of physical culture and sports, will lead the delegation.

The ministry said Seoul accepted the offer on Wednesday and told Pyongyang it would dispatch a team of interlocutors, including Vice Sports Minister Roh Tae-kang; Lee Joo-tae, director general of inter-Korean exchange and cooperation at the Unification Ministry; Park Chul-keun, director general of international affairs at the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee; and an official from the Prime Minister’s Office. Apart from the Olympics, the ministry said both sides were expected to discuss sports-related exchanges and cooperation.

Friday’s meeting will be another follow-up to the Pyongyang Declaration signed by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in September. In the declaration, both countries agreed to “actively participate together in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games and other international games, and to cooperate in bidding for the joint hosting of the 2032 Summer Olympic Games.”

The last meeting between the two Koreas didn’t go well.

Officials from the North and South met on Oct. 22 at the Kaesong office to discuss forestry issues, but South Korean pool reports indicated that the meeting didn’t meet the North’s expectations. Seoul is in talks with Washington to make sure its projects with Pyongyang don’t violate international sanctions. The North has urged the South not to rely on external parties when it comes to inter-Korean issues.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]