N.Korea will take part in next two Olympics - IOC chief Bach

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. Reuters

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reportedly committed to his country participating at Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 during a meeting with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.

The IOC head said the decision was "fully supported" by Kim during their "very open and fruitful discussion" on Friday.

North Korea is slated to participate in the next two Olympic Games, after its most recent participation helped to ease tensions along the Korean peninsula.

Bach was met at Pyongyang's global airport by North Korean Sports Minister Kim Il Guk and Jang Ung, the country's Olympic committee member.

North Korea is expected to take part in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, as well as the Beijing Winter Games, set to be held in 2022.

The Winter Games triggered a fast-moving rapprochement that will see Kim sit down with the South's President Moon Jae-in in late April, with a United States summit with President Donald Trump planned for May.

On whether South and North Korea would show a united front at the upcoming Games, Bach said the International Olympic Committee will propose at the "appropriate time" that the two Koreas march together or take part in joint activities.

The German met with Kim for a formal 30 minute meeting and the duo also informally spoke while watching a football match at May Day Stadium in capital city Pyongyang.

On Thursday, South and North Korea have agreed to hold an inter-Korean summit on April 27 in the border village of Panmunjom.

Bach arrived in Pyongyang on Thursday to discuss development of sports in North Korea and the preparation of its athletes to qualify and participate in upcoming Olympics.

Kim's Olympic overtures follow Japanese media reports earlier this month of Tokyo exploring the possibility of a meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the North Korean leader after the surprise announcement of a proposed summit with Trump.

Hopes have been raised that the North Korean leader may be willing to discuss his nuclear weapons program and other measures to reduce the threat of war, possibly in exchange for security guarantees and an easing of the global sanctions that have severely pinched the already struggling North Korean economy.

Of the 22 North Korean athletes who competed in Pyeongchang, only two won places on merit and the other 20 were granted special spots by the IOC.

At second from right in front row is North Korean Sports Minister Kim Il Guk. But he added that sports alone can not heal all wounds.

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