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Dagyum Ji is a senior NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She previously worked for Reuters TV.
North and South Korea on Friday agreed to officially deliver their intention to co-host the 2032 Summer Olympics to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The news came in a joint press statement issued following inter-Korean athletics talks at the joint liaison office at the now-shuttered Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC).
Talks began at 1000 local time, led by South Korean Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Roh Tae-kang and North Korean Vice-Minister of Physical Culture and Sports Won Kil U.
Roh said the two sides had discussed “concrete and practical implementation plans for inter-Korean sports exchange and cooperation” at a news conference following the meeting, according to the ROK press corps.
Friday’s talks were held in an “amicable atmosphere,” he said, adding there had been “no big differences in opinion.”
“The South and the North agreed to jointly send a letter which includes its intention to co-host the 2032 Summer Olympic Games to the International Olympic Committee and resolve necessary issues through consultation,” the statement said.
September’s Pyongyang Joint Declaration saw the two sides agree to submit a joint bid to host the Summer Olympics in 2020 and to pursue broader joint participation in international games.
As a first step, the two Koreas on Friday agreed to form a unified team for the 26th Men’s World Championship of the International Handball Federation (IHF) held in Germany and Denmark in January next year.
Seoul and Pyongyang will also send a unified team to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, and will discuss practical issues with the IOC and related sporting organizations.
The two Koreas have also promised to “actively participate in international games” hosted by the other.
The North has this year participated in several international tournaments hosted by the South: including the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics and the 2018 ISSF World Shooting Championships.
Seoul and Pyongyang will soon discuss practical issues raised during today’s talks, including holding “friendly matches which will be held on the occasion of meaningful occasions,” at the inter-Korean joint liaison office, according to the joint press statement.
Speaking at the news conference, Roh Tae-kang said “opportunities” referred to events like the one year anniversary of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and the third inter-Korean summit on April 27.
July saw the two Koreas hold several basketball matches marking the anniversary of the 1972 joint communiqué, which falls on July 4.
Meanwhile, ROK vice unification minister Chun Hae-sung and DPRK vice-chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country (CPRC) Jon Jong Su held talks on Friday at joint liaison office at KIC.
Chun and Jon held a meeting between 1020 and 1125 local time in their capacities as directors of the inter-Korean liaison office.
Although the two Koreas agreed to hold a director-level meeting every week, Friday’s meeting was first of its kind since September 28.
The South Korean Ministry of Unification (MOU), however, was unable to confirm if the weekly meeting would be held during a regular briefing last Friday, while adding that Seoul and Pyongyang had discussed the issue.
Vice unification minister Chun usually works at the liaison office every Friday.
The MOU on Friday said both sides had “comprehensively discussed various pending issues raised between the two Koreas recently” in a statement issued after the meeting, though it did not provide further details.
Seoul and Pyongyang also reaffirmed their plans for “continuous efforts for the development of inter-Korean relations” including the implementation of the Pyongyang Declaration.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: Blue House