Koreas Form Unified Table Tennis Team in Surprise Move in Sweden

Seo Hyowon right from South Korea and Kim Song I from North Korea together in Halmstad on Thursday after North and South Korea combined their women’s teams at the table tennis team world championships

Koreas Form Unified Table Tennis Team in Surprise Move in Sweden

As part of their pursuit of peace talks, leaders of the two Korea's announced that their teams would now continue as one team through the 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships instead of as separate teams, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The last time that a Unified Korea team played the World Table Tennis Championships was 1991 in Chiba, Japan where they shocked defending Champion China to be crowned World Champions.

North and South Korea joined forces Thursday rather than play against each other in the quarterfinals.

Now an International Olympic Committee member and vice president of the Korea Table Tennis Association, Ryu worked behind the scenes with the International Table Tennis Federation and North Korean officials to combine the two Koreas before they were to meet in the quarterfinals Thursday. "This is an important statement to promote peace between our countries through table tennis".

Just days after leaders of the two countries pledged to rid the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons, the two nations have unified in the table tennis hall - rather than compete against each other amid a backdrop of inter-Korean reconciliation.

He said forming the joint team is historic and a great sign for reunion and peace in the world.

"It's really unbelievable but now we are a unified team".

The move follows the North and South Korean leaders' pledge for "lasting peace" to the Korea peninsula just last week, which portrays that table tennis is ideal medium to be promoting peace through sport. In February, they fielded a unified women's ice hockey team at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Now we get our skill and power, so I think we can be a stronger team.

The combined team will now fight against either Japan or Ukraine in the final four. The North Koreans are Cha Hyo-sim, Choe Hyon-hwa, Kim Nam-hae and Kim Song-i. The combined team of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and South Korea lost the match 0-3.

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