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IOC welcomes North Korean Olympic interest

Posted January. 03, 2018 07:58,   

Updated January. 03, 2018 09:10


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) welcomed the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s willingness, shown in his New Year’s Day address, to participate in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

“The IOC will closely cooperate with the organizing committee for the PyeongChang 2018, the Korean government and North Korea's Olympic Committee (NOC),” IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said in an interview with “Inside the Games” Tuesday. “In this context, we will consider the comments of the North Korean leadership with regard to participation in the Olympic Winter Games in an open way."

The IOC is likely to grant wild card entries to some North Korean athletes. It is expected that the IOC will discuss with international federations of winter Olympic sports over additional quota assignment and talk with the NOC behind the scene.

IOC President Thomas Bach said in his New Year's message that he will do his best to make the PyeongChang Olympics a “peaceful competition.” He said the IOC is willing to cover all costs for North Korean athletes, including their equipment, if they participate in the winter games in South Korea.

“We know about the political tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The IOC has addressed them already since 2015. In all these discussions, the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 were never put in doubt,” he said. “To ensure this for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, we keep monitoring the situation very closely.”

Yun-Cheol Jeong trigger@donga.com