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S. Korea to keep close eye on possibility of N.K.'s participation in Beijing Olympics: ministry

All News 11:36 October 05, 2021

SEOUL, Oct. 5 (Yonhap) -- The unification ministry will keep a close eye on discussions between North Korea and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for any possibility of its participation in the 2022 Beijing Olympics, an official said Tuesday.

Last month, the IOC decided to suspend the North from the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing for refusing to participate in the recent Tokyo Games over COVID-19 concerns.

The IOC said the participation of any individual North Korean athletes in the Beijing Olympics will be decided appropriately in the future, should any North Korean athlete qualify for the games.

"As for the possibility of the North's participation in the Beijing Olympics, a process involving discussions between the IOC and the North's national Olympic committee is necessary," the official said.

"As we recognize that the North's participation in the Beijing Olympics is a good opportunity for inter-Korean cooperation in international sports competition, we will keep a close eye on the IOC and the North's discussions," she added.

On Sunday, Unification Minister Lee In-young promised efforts to hold high-level talks with North Korea possibly around the Beijing Olympics and expressed hope that the two Koreas can "head to the Beijing Olympics by holding hands with a delightful heart from reaching an agreement on dialogue and cooperation."

In this file photo from Feb. 9, 2018, delegations from South Korea and North Korea march together into PyeongChang Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games in Pyeongchang, 180 kilometers east of Seoul. (Yonhap)

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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