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Joint Korean Sports Teams Proposed

June 14, 2000

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ North Korea responded favorably to a South Korean proposal Wednesday that the two nations form joint teams for international sports events.

Sports officials from both Koreas discussed sports exchanges as part of a summit talk between South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, the North’s capital.

Chung Mong-joon, head of South Korea’s national soccer federation, proposed that the two nations send one team to the Asian Cup in Lebanon in October and next year’s world youth soccer championship in Argentina.

Chung also renewed his proposal that North Korea play host to a few games at the 2002 World Cup, which South Korea will share with Japan.

Kim Un-yong, head of the South’s Korea Sports Council, suggested the nations field one team at the World Table Tennis Championship in Japan next year.

He also offered to form joint teams for some of the events in the 2002 Asian Games in the South Korean port city of Pusan.

Kim also told North Korean officials that South and North Korea could march under the same ``unification″ banner at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sydney Games.

``We are optimistic that South Korean proposals will be realized,″ North Korean IOC member Jang Un was quoted as saying in a South Korean pool report from Pyongyang.

The two Koreas fielded single teams for a world table tennis championship and a world youth soccer championship in 1990. There were no further sports exchanges between the sides because of political and military tensions.

The Koreas remain in a state of conflict because their three-year war in the early 1950s ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.

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