June 26, 2017 11:09
North Korea on Sunday sniffed at an offer from President Moon Jae-in the previous day to field a joint team in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Moon, speaking at the opening ceremony of the World Taekwondo Championships in Muju, North Jeolla Province on Saturday, said, "If a North Korean delegation takes part in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, I believe it will greatly contribute to realizing the Olympic values of friendship and peace."
He added that he would like to feel again the emotion of watching a joint Korean sports team march in the opening ceremony of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, and also cited the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships in Japan and the 1991 FIFA World Youth Championship in Portugal.
Moon also shook hands with Chang Ung, North Korea's only member in the International Olympic Committee. "I believe in the strength of sports in establishing peace," Moon said and urged Chang to help form a joint team.
But Chang expressed misgivings. "When we fielded a joint team at the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships, there were 22 rounds of cross-border talks and they took five months," he was quoted as saying at a dinner reception on Saturday.
Chang said what is more important is the position of the IOC, adding that the offer will be discussed when IOC President Thomas Bach comes to South Korea.
Earlier, Sports Minister Do Jong-whan proposed fielding a joint women's hockey team at the Winter Olympics. Bach arrives in South Korea on Friday to attend the closing ceremony of the biannual Taekwondo championships.
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