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Joint S-N Korean table tennis team agreed

Posted March. 15, 2001 13:40,   


With North Korea`s designation of the Kaesong and inner Mt. Kumgang regions as special tourism zones, more inter-Korean cooperation initiatives are expected to be launched in the near future. The South and North Korea already agreed to field a single national table tennis team to participate in the forthcoming 46th World Table Tennis Championships in Osaka, Japan on Apr. 23.

On his arrival at Kimpo International Airport Wednesday from his five-day visit to North Korea, Culture-Tourism Minister Kim Han-Gill said in a press conference that he met North Korean government officials on seven occasions and reached this and other agreements.

Disclosing that the North had decided to take legislative steps to designate Kaesong and inner Mt. Kumgang as special tourist zones, Kim forecast that South Koreans would be able to travel to Kaesong from September via the Kyongui (Seoul-Kaesong) Railway that is expected to be restored at that time.

The minister said that the unified table tennis team would be composed of 25 athletes and officials from each side and undertake joint training for three weeks from early April in Osaka. He said that the South and North Korea agreed to follow accords on the formation of the team, team flag and song that were reached for their joint participation in the 1991 World Table Tennis Championship in Chiba, Japan.

Kim also noted that during his Pyongyang trip he met with Song Ho-Kyong, vice chairman of the Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, and Chang Ung, vice president of North Korea`s Sports Promotion Committee, to exchange views on the expansion of mutual exchanges in the fields of culture, tourism and sports. He said the two sides agreed to hold inter-Korean culture ministers` talks on a regular basis, disclosing that the timing and venue for the next meeting would be decided during working-level consultations in the near future.

Kim Cha-Su kimcs@donga.com