Bach heads to North Korea

Bach heads to North Korea

Bach heads to North Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reportedly committed to his country participating at Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 during a meeting with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.

As of press time Friday, no report on the former Olympian's meeting with Kim had been made and Bach was set to leave the North Korean capital Saturday morning.

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 United States summit with President Donald Trump planned for May.

"And this commitment was fully supported by the supreme leader", he said. 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.

North Korea will take part in the next two Olympic Games held in Tokyo and Beijing, Intenational Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said Saturday.

"The joint march of the athletes from the two Koreas in Pyeongchang sent a very strong signal of peace from these Olympic Games to the world", he said.

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.

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Kim told Bach that the Olympics - which saw competitors from the two Koreas march together at the opening ceremony and field a joint women's ice hockey team - "opened a new chapter of concord between the north and the south", the official KCNA news agency said.

Since the Olympics, the North has pushed forward with a flurry of diplomatic moves. The meeting will take place ahead of an expected meeting between US President Donald Trump and Kim in May.

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

At second from right in front row is North Korean Sports Minister Kim Il Guk.

The IOC supported North Korean athletes financiallly and in kind in their effort to qualify for Pyeongchang.

"It is the mission of the International Olympic Committee always to build bridges and by building these bridges through sport we can also make a contribution to the ongoing political talks", he said, adding that he hopes the talks will lead "in the Olympic spirit to a peaceful future for the Korean Peninsula".

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