Koreas to hold talks in Jakarta to expand sports exchanges

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Jakarta, Aug 18 (IANS) Sports ministers from the two Koreas will soon meet in Jakarta to discuss way to expand sports exchanges between the two sides, Seoul’s top sports official said Saturday.

Do Jong-whan, South Korea’s sports minister, said he will soon talk about exchanges with his North Korean counterpart Kim Il-guk. Both officials are currently in Jakarta for the 18th Asian Games, reports Tass news agency.

“The Korean Sport & Olympic Committee will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year, but before we were divided into two Koreas, it started as one organization, the Korea Sports Council,” Do said to South Korean reporters in Jakarta.

“To celebrate that anniversary, we hope we can have a joint event with North Korea. We’ll also discuss what we can do at the National Sports Festival (that will also hold its 100th edition).”

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The Korea Sports Council was founded on July 13, 1920. In that same year, a baseball tournament, which is considered a precedent for the National Sports Festival, was also held.

Do said he’ll also talk with Kim about a detailed schedule for an inter-Korean friendly basketball tournament in Seoul. The Koreas had friendly basketball matches in Pyongyang last month.

Do added that he’ll also discuss with Kim about holding inter-Korean sports talks regularly as well as the North’s participation in the 2019 International Swimming Federation (FINA) World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

“This is the year that sports plays an important role to change the fate of the country,” he said. “Even if the relationship between the two Koreas is in deadlock, sports exchanges can continue.”

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