South and North Korea to march together at Asian Games

SEOUL, April 2 (UPI) — South and North Korean athletes are set to make a joint entrance at the Asian Games this summer, according to a South Korean pool report from Pyongyang.

During his four-day trip to North Korea, leading a 160-member arts troupe, Seoul’s Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Do Jong-hwan held a meeting with his North Korean counterpart Kim Il-guk at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang.

The two officials discussed various ways to expand inter-Korean sports exchanges and agreed to push for a joint entrance of South and North Korean athletes at the Asian Games in Indonesia, held from Aug. 18 to Sep. 2 this year.

Further areas of cooperation, including the athletes marching under a unified Korean flag, will be up for discussion on Apr. 27, after the inter-Korean summit is held in Panmunjom between President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The North’s sports minister said if the two Koreas often meet for discussions and their athletes join forces, they will have no trouble topping sports rankings in Asia.

Do responded that working-level talks should be held after the inter-Korean summit later this month, expressing hope that sports would help advance reconciliation and exchange between the South and North.

On Monday, South and North Korean taekwondo athletes held an hour-long joint demonstration session at the Pyongyang Grand Theater, where all 1,200 seats were filled with spectators.

From 4:30 p.m. Seoul time, South Korean athletes showcased their moves for 25-minutes and their North Korean counterparts 30-minutes before the two sides joined together for a combined five-minute performance.

The occasion marks the first inter-Korean taekwondo performance in Pyongyang, Yonhap reported.

The 20 South Korean taekwondo practitioners are set to return home Tuesday, along with K-Pop artists and cultural officials, on a chartered plane.