WORLD Koreas to field joint teams at Asian Games

WORLD

Koreas to field joint teams at Asian Games

AFP

14:50, June 28, 2018

one flag.jpg

Two Koreas marched together under a unified Korean flag during the opening ceremony of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, Feb. 9, 2018. (Xinhua/Lui Siu Wai)

North and South Korea will field joint teams in three sports -- canoeing, rowing and women's basketball -- at the Asian Games, organisers said Thursday, in the latest sign of thawing tensions.

The two countries will also march together at the opening and closing ceremonies for the showpiece event being held in Indonesia from August 18-September 2, they added.

South Korea's national Olympic committee previously told AFP that the country's governing bodies for basketball, judo, canoe, gymnastics, table tennis, rowing and soft tennis had expressed an interest in running combined teams.

Seoul and Pyongyang agreed this month to form unified teams for some sports though the specifics were only confirmed Thursday after a meeting in Jakarta between the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), Games organisers and representatives from the two Koreas.

"We won't add any more (sports)," Games deputy chairman Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin told reporters after the meeting Thursday.

"We have to be strict with scheduling so there will be no more changes."

Further details about logistics would come later, he added.

"The meeting was very friendly and enthusiastic, and was based on a spirit of togetherness of the two countries," Sjamsoeddin said.

The two Koreas formed their first-ever unified Olympic team -- a joint women's ice hockey squad -- for February's Winter Games in the South Korean resort of Pyeongchang.

Ties between the neighbours have been warming since the Winter Olympics, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreeing at an historic summit in April to jointly participate in international sports events.

This month, Kim and US President Donald Trump held a summit in Singapore.

The three-team plan comes after the OCA had earlier dismissed the idea of granting extra places for unified Korean teams at an event which will see about 10,000 athletes compete in 40 sports -- the second-biggest multi-sport event behind the Olympics.

The Games will be held in Indonesia's capital and Palembang on Sumatra island.


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