North Korea's Kim meets International Olympic Committee chief in Pyongyang: KCNA

by Garry Watts April 3, 2018, 3:00
North Korea's Kim meets International Olympic Committee chief in Pyongyang: KCNA

Kim Jong Un has told International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach that North Korea is committed to competing in the Tokyo and Beijing Games.

During his three day visit, Bach also met with North Korea's Sports Minister and National Olympic Committee chairman Kim Il-guk.

Kim reportedly conveyed his appreciation to the IOC for its sincerity and cooperation in helping North Korean athletes compete at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games held in South Korea in February.

Bach announced the news upon returning to Beijing from Pyongyang, Reuters reported.

It was not known if Bach would meet during his three-day visit with leader Kim Jong Un, who has just returned from a summit in Beijing with Chinese President Xi Jinping, his first known trip overseas as leader.

The meeting comes less than a week after Kim traveled to Beijing to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping. "We can not lead their political negotiations".

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In line with the decisions reached at the January 20 meeting, the North not only sent Olympic athletes but also a cheerleading squad and an arts troupe, easing military tensions and paving the way for inter-Korea talks.

Athletes from North and South Korea marched under a unified peninsula flag at the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, and the two Koreas have seen a significant thaw in tensions since. He called for further co-operation with the International Olympic Committee in developing winter sports and other sports activities in North Korea, the agency said. "He explained that sport is a pillar in his policy for the future development of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea".

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach (C) and North Korean IOC member Chang Ung (3rd from L) pose with members of an IOC delegation in Pyongyang on March 29, 2018, in this photo from the North's Korean Central News Agency.

A North Korean team has participated at every addition of the Summer Olympics since they boycotted Seoul 1988.

Kim's talks with Bach appear to have focused mostly on sports. Of the 22 North Korean athletes who competed in the Pyeongchang Olympics, only two won places on merit and the other 20 were granted spots by the IOC.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is seen writing, in this still image taken from video released on Wednesday.

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