Two Koreas agree to field unified teams for Asian Games

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Seoul, June 18 (IANS) South and North Korea agreed on Monday to field a unified team for certain sports at the Asian Games scheduled for August in Indonesia.

The agreement came after officials from the two sides met at the Peace House, located on the southern part of the truce village in Panmunjom, to discuss ways to expand sports exchanges, Yonhap news agency reported.

South and North Korean athletes will march under the unified flag in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Asian Games, set to take place in Jakarta and Palembang. Athletes will form unified Korean teams for some of the games.

The two sides also agreed to hold a friendly basketball match in the North Korean capital on July 4. The idea was proposed by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un when he met South Korean President Moon Jae-in during the landmark April 27 summit.

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Before heading to Panmunjom for talks in the morning, Jeon Choong-ryul, Secretary General of the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee, emphasized the importance of sports as a stepping stone to expand inter-Korean exchanges and build peace on the Korean Peninsula.

“We will try to materialize the spirit and principles agreed between high-level officials of South and North Korea with the belief that sports can act as a guide for better inter-Korean exchanges,” Jeon, the head of the Korean delegation, told reporters in Seoul.

“As we all witnessed during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, sports gave a chance to initiate better inter-Korean relations,” he said.

The two sides will continue discussing details through the exchange of documents going forward, the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said.

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