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IOC President visits North Korea

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – Jonathan NACKSTRAND – | The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, at a press conference on March 16, 2018 in Are, Sweden

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Thursday marked a visit to North Korea by President Thomas Bach in what appears to be a new diplomatic initiative on the peninsula after the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

President Thomas Bach “is currently visiting the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” the IOC said in a statement, adding that the visit followed “an invitation from the North Korean National Olympic Committee (NOC),” an invitation launched discussions in January in Lausanne on North Korea’s participation in the Pyeongchang Olympics.

South Korean news agency Yonhap reported earlier that Bach had been seen at the airport in Beijing on Thursday before boarding a plane from Air Koryo, the North Korean airline, bound for Pyongyang on Thursday. afternoon.

Other media had published photos of the German at the check-in counter.

The IOC delegation arrived in Pyongyang on Thursday, said the IOC and will leave the country Saturday (31 March) in the morning.

During Bach’s visit, discussions will focus on “the development of sport in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as a result of the successful participation” of its athletes in the PyeongChang winter Olympic Games, as well as on the preparation of athletes from North Korea. “for the qualification and participation in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the Winter 2022 in Beijing and the Youth Olympic Games 2020 and 2022”, added the IOC.

The IOC announced during the Winter Games that were held from 9 to 25 February that Mr. Bach would visit North Korea after the Olympics, at a date yet to be determined.

These Games brought the South and the lonely north together, bringing in athletes, government officials and cheerleaders. A united women’s team, bringing together North and South Koreans, had also participated in the ice hockey tournament.

Athletes from both Koreas marched together at the opening ceremony, during which South Korean President Moon Jae-in shook hands with the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Since then, the North and South have decided to hold a summit next month, and Kim Jong Un made his first trip abroad as a leader this week in China to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

A summit between the North Korean leader and US President Donald Trump must also be organized.

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