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North Korean IOC member douses expectations on collaboration for Pyeongchang 2018 Updated: 2017-06-27 03:58:03 KST


At the opening of the World Taekwondo Championships in Muju over the weekend, President Moon Jae-in welcomed the North Korean Taekwondo team and its delegates, and called on the two Koreas to once again join hands on the sporting field.
With the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, approaching next year, Moon revived the idea of the two Korea's entering the opening ceremony together.


"I want to feel moved again, like we did at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, when the world cheered and applauded us as both South and North Korean athletes entered together."
2000 .

But that could prove to be wishful thinking, as so far no North Korean athlete or team has qualified to participate in the Games, and only a single figure skating pair remain in contention.

That has led to other suggestions being floated.
A joint women's ice hockey team has been proposed, as well as the idea that North Korea could host some ski events.
However Chang Ung, the sole North Korean representative for the International Olympic Committee, who is part of the visiting delegation, was quick to lower expectations.
At a dinner on Saturday, he is reported to have explained that when a joint team for the World Table Tennis Championships was put together in 1991, it took 22 rounds of inter-Korean talks, lasting over five months, adding "That is the reality we are faced with."
He also expressed doubts over North Korea holding a ski event, saying "Speaking as an Olympic expert, I think it's a bit late."

Despite these obstacles, Seoul maintained a positive outlook.


"If Pyongyang were to respond positively, then there would be a lot of logistical work that would need to be done. We are eagerly awaiting their positive response."

However, even if the ideas for the Olympics don't work out, they aren't the only sporting venture being explored.

Seoul Mayor, Park Won-soon, at a lunch meeting with Chang on Sunday, brought up the idea of reviving the annual Seoul-Pyongyang amateur football match.
The match's roots go back to 1929, but it was stopped after the peninsula became divided in 1948.
Chang said he would deliver the suggestion to Pyongyang when he returns on Saturday.
Kwon Jang-ho, Arirang News.
Reporter : kwon@arirang.com
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