NATIONAL

IOC President Bach meets with N. Korean sports minister in Pyongyang

By Yonhap
  • Published : Mar 30, 2018 - 23:04
  • Updated : Mar 30, 2018 - 23:04
International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach met with the North Korean sports minister during his visit to Pyongyang on Friday, the North‘s state media reported.

Earlier in the day, the IOC announced that its president was visiting North Korea for discussions on the country’s participation in future Olympic Games.

“Minister of Physical Culture and Sports Kim Il-guk, who is chairman of the DPRK Olympic Committee, met and had a talk with the visiting delegation of the IOC led by President Thomas Bach at the Mansudae Assembly Hall on Friday,” the Korean Central News Agency reported.

The DPRK stands for the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name.

The news agency, however, did not elaborate on the meeting.

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

Bach‘s trip follows an invitation extended by the North’s national Olympic committee during an IOC meeting in January over North Korea‘s participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

The IOC approved an inter-Korean agreement on the North’s participation on Jan. 20 at its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The two Koreas marched together under the Korean Unification Flag at the opening ceremony and also assembled a historic unified women‘s hockey team, with 23 South Korean and 12 North Korean players.

Bach has repeatedly praised the two Koreas for sending a powerful message of peace, saying they represented the Olympic values of respect and friendship.

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.”

“The discussions will focus on the further development of sport in the DPRK after the successful participation of athletes at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018; and the preparation of athletes from ... the DPRK with the objective of qualifying for and participating in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, as well as the Youth Olympic Games 2020 and 2022,” the IOC added. Bach is scheduled to stay in Pyongyang until Saturday. (Yonhap)