North Korea’s Kim meets IOC chief in Pyongyang: KCNA

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NKOREA-IOC-DIPLOMACY

North Korea’s Kim meets IOC chief in Pyongyang: KCNA

SEOUL, March 31, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un has met
Olympics chief Thomas Bach in Pyongyang, thanking him for helping to bring
about a “dramatic thawing” of tensions on the Korean peninsula, the country’s
state media said Saturday.

Last month’s Winter Olympics in South Korea triggered a fast-moving
rapprochement that will see Kim sit down with the South’s President Moon Jae-
in in late April – with a US summit with President Donald Trump planned for
May.

Bach arrived in the country on Thursday and his visit, which concluded
Saturday, was the result of an invitation extended by Pyongyang in January.

The isolated, nuclear-armed regime rarely hosts foreign dignitaries but
recent weeks have seen a flurry of diplomacy, with Kim making his first
foreign trip as leader to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and inviting him
to visit Pyongyang.

Kim told Bach that the Olympics — which saw competitors from the two
Koreas march together at the opening ceremony and field a joint women’s ice
hockey team — “opened a new chapter of concord between the north and the
south”, the official KCNA news agency said.

“He said that the once frozen north-south relations greeted a dramatic
thawing season with the Olympics as a momentum and it was totally
attributable to the efforts of the IOC which offered an opportunity and paved
a path for it,” KCNA reported.

The two men held discussions about the development of sport in the North
and attended a women’s football match.

North and South Korea plan to hold a summit on April 27.

Trump is then due to meet Kim before the end of May for talks on
Pyongyang’s denuclearisation.

Bach has hailed the reconciliatory mood, saying previously that the Olympic
spirit “brought two sides together” and the two neighbours sent a “powerful
message of peace” to the world.

BSS/AFP/MRI/0845 hrs