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South Korean President invites North Korean athletes to 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea Updated: 2017-06-25 08:57:48 KST

It's the Olympics for Taekwondo.
World Taekwondo Championships is back home here on the Korean peninsula for the first time in 16 years boasting the largest participation ever with 184 delegations, a total of 971 athletes.

But, that's not the only reason why the 2017 tournament in Muju - roughly three hours away from Seoul - will make history.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in took the stage to congratulate the opening of the biennial tournament in his country and extend a special welcome.

"Although the closest geographically, I believe you have made the farthest trip here.
, .
I would like to sincerely welcome IOC member, Chang Ung, President of the International Taekwondo Federation, Ri Yong-sun, and the North Korean demonstration squad for traveling to the Republic of Korea despite difficult conditions."

Noting that the championships marks the first inter-Korean sports exchange since he took office early last month, President Moon took the opportunity to invite North Korean athletes to the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympic Games hosted by South Korea.

"I believe should North Korean athletes' participate in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, it will be a great contribution to realizing the Olympic spirit; unity of the human kind and world peace.
I hope North Korea's cheering squad could also join us to establish a platform for the reconciliation of South and North Korea."

President Moon added that he hopes to see the two Koreas compete in the Olympics in February, 2018 as one joint Korean team.
In the meantime, he would like to see World Taekwondo return the favor by demonstrating at the World ITF Championships in Pyongyang come September.

The opening ceremony featured a historic performance by a demo team from the North
Korea-led International Taekwondo Federation and a team from the World Taekwondo headquartered in Seoul
The World Taekwondo is the official IOC-recognized international taekwondo governing body.
2017 World Taekwondo Championships will run until the last day of this month.
Moon Connyoung Arirang News.
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