N. Korea to take part in next two Olympics: IOC

BEIJING • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is committed to sending teams to the next two Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Thomas Bach said yesterday after a rare meeting with the leader of the nuclear-armed regime in Pyongyang.

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

"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, he said.

"And this commitment was fully supported by the supreme leader of DPRK," he said, using the official abbreviation for the country.

Mr Bach also said the IOC will make a proposal for a "potential joint march" and other shared activities between the North and South Korean teams at the Tokyo Games.

February's Winter Olympics in South Korea saw competitors from the two countries march together at the opening ceremony. The Games triggered a fast-moving rapprochement that will see Mr Kim sit down with the South's President Moon Jae In late this month - with a US summit with President Donald Trump planned for May.

North Korea's official KCNA news agency said Mr Kim thanked Mr Bach for helping to bring about a "dramatic thawing" of tensions on the Korean peninsula.

The isolated regime rarely hosts foreign dignitaries but recent weeks have seen a flurry of diplomacy, with Mr Kim making his first foreign trip as leader to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and inviting him to visit Pyongyang.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 01, 2018, with the headline 'N. Korea to take part in next two Olympics: IOC'. Print Edition | Subscribe