IOC President: IOC to Further Accompany South-North Korean Political Dialogue

IOC President: IOC to Further Accompany South-North Korean Political Dialogue

IOC President: IOC to Further Accompany South-North Korean Political Dialogue

"We will continue to accompany this political dialogue through sport, by helping athletes to prepare for and compete in future editions of the Olympic Games", Bach said, as quoted in an IOC statement, at the meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"This commitment was fully supported by the supreme leader of the DPRK in a very open and fruitful discussion I had with him yesterday", Bach said, using the country's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Both the North and South hailed the Pyeongchang Games as a significant step toward easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula that reached dangerously high levels previous year as the North stepped up its missile tests and detonated its largest nuclear device to date.

Kim is committed to sending North Korean teams to the Tokyo and Beijing Olympics, IOC chief Thomas Bach said Saturday after a rare meeting with the leader of the nuclear-armed regime in Pyongyang.

The North Korean leader is also said to have extended an invitation for Bach to visit the North frequently.

"They announced to us that they will definitely participate in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as well at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022", Bach told Agence France-Presse afterwards.

The Winter Games triggered a fast-moving rapprochement that will see Kim sit down with the South's President Moon Jae-in in late April, with a USA summit with President Donald Trump planned for May.

The IOC said in a statement Bach's visit is "part of the close cooperation and consultations the IOC enjoys with all of the 206 national Olympic committees".

It added that Bach toured the May 1 Stadium and various other sports venues in the North Korean capital.

On whether South and North Korea would show a united front at the upcoming Games, Bach said the International Olympic Committee will propose at the "appropriate time" that the two Koreas march together or take part in joint activities. The state's participation in Pyeongchang games led to a burst of diplomacy that resulted in Kim's invitation to meet with South Korean and U.S. presidents this spring.

Since the Olympics, the North has pushed forward with a flurry of diplomatic moves. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said he is exploring the possibility of a meeting with Kim as well.

Hopes have been raised that the North Korean leader may be willing to discuss his nuclear weapons programme and other measures to reduce the threat of war.

Kim's talks with Bach appear to have focused mostly on sports.

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