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Tuesday November 12th, 2019 9:53PM

Talks open at Korean Olympic unity meeting in Switzerland

By The Associated Press
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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Olympic and government officials from North Korea and South Korea have begun a meeting at the IOC headquarters in Switzerland to confirm how they will unite for the Pyeongchang Winter Games next month.

Sports ministers from both countries have joined the session to build on a breakthrough agreement reached Wednesday at their shared border.

"Here we are talking about sport and the Olympic Games, and this shows that sport can always build bridges and be a stage for dialogue," International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach told reporters on arriving for the talks.

The IOC must sign off on the deal agreed Wednesday, including both teams marching together under a Korean unification flag in the Feb. 9 opening ceremony and fielding a united women's ice hockey team.

It would be the first time both Korean Olympic committees compete in a single team.

Protocol around Korean anthems and team uniforms to use at the Feb. 9-25 games must also be resolved.

The IOC suggested Friday "more exciting initiatives" will be decided in the talks.

Bach said all parties, including the Pyeongchang organizing committee, held a full day of preparation meetings Friday. He is scheduled to give a statement later to international media.

South Korean organizing officials may need to house hundreds of people in a North Korean delegation, including a reported 230-member cheering group.

The actual team of North Korean athletes taking part could be in single figures.

Two figure skaters qualified for the pairs event but were not entered in time. The International Skating Union awarded that entry to Japan, and said the IOC must approve any late entry and increase the competition quota.

A unified hockey team should see North Korean players added to South Korea's 22-woman roster rather than replace anyone.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports
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Talks open at Korean Olympic unity meeting in Switzerland
Olympic and government officials from North Korea and South Korea have begun a meeting at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquarters in Switzerland to confirm how they will unite for the Pyeongchang Winter Games next month
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