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North, South Korea eye joint march, some unified teams for Tokyo 2020

South Korean Sports Minister Do Jong-hwan International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach from Germany, and North Korea's Olympic Committee President and Minister of Physical Culture and Sports Kim Il Guk pose for a photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Lausanne, Switzerland Feb 15, 2019, 04.01 PM (IST)

North Korea and South Korea are interested in a joint march at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics as well as fielding some unified teams in different sports, the president of the International Olympic Committee said on Friday. 

South and North Korean officials met with the IOC in Lausanne, buoyed by the role the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics played in easing tensions between the two countries. 

The two nations had marched together at the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang for the first time since the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. They had also fielded a unified women's ice hockey team. 

"Following the bilateral conversations we had yesterday, we are taking note that both are very much interested in having some joined actions in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 with a joined march and some unified teams in different sports," IOC President Thomas Bach said at the start of the meeting. 

Among the points of discussion at the Lausanne meeting was a potential 2032 Summer Olympics joint bid by North and South Korea, and Bach said both countries had expressed interest in proceeding. 

"We think this is a great symbol of the Olympic spirit. It is a great symbol again of the unifying power of the Olympic Games," Bach said. 

Relations between the nations greatly improved last year, with South Korean President Moon Jae-in meeting his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un at three different summits. 

North Korea has for years pursued nuclear and missile programs in defiance of U.N. sanctions but the neighbours moved to thaw relations in 2018. 

Story highlights

South and North Korean officials met with the IOC in Lausanne, buoyed by the role the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics played in easing tensions between the two countries.