Talks continue on possible joint Korean hockey team at Tokyo 2020 despite missed deadline

Talks are reportedly continuing about North and South Korea forming a unified women's hockey team at Tokyo 2020, despite the advanced stage of the qualification process.

The neighbours previously agreed to join forces in the sport for next year's Olympic Games, as well as in women's basketball, judo and rowing.

But no progress has been made in hockey, and South Korea competed alone at the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Series Finals tournament in Ireland in June, part of the Tokyo 2020 qualification pathway.

They came through successfully and now face a two-leg clash with Spain in Valencia next month, where the winners will reach the Games.

Kyodo News reported that an FIH deadline of yesterday to apply for a joint team had been missed, with sources claiming this marked the end of the road.

Should South Korea qualify, however, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) could then approve a unified squad.

Talks are reportedly ongoing between the IOC and the National Olympic Committees in both North and South Korea.

FIH chief executive Thierry Weil said to Kyodo News that if South Korea qualifies, the final decision on the joint team would be down to the IOC.

However, South Korea have reportedly heard nothing from North Korea when trying to organise combined training sessions.

The IOC is keen to encourage joint sports teams on the Korean peninsula as a way of promoting peace between the two nations, who technically remain at war.

North Korea competed at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics in the South after the country's leader Kim Jong-un announced that the secretive state would take part.

Korea formed a unified women's ice hockey team at Pyeongchang 2018 ©Getty Images
Korea formed a unified women's ice hockey team at Pyeongchang 2018 ©Getty Images

Both Koreas marched together under a unified flag at the Opening Ceremony and also fielded a joint women's ice hockey team.

There are now tentative plans for a joint-Korean bid for the 2032 Summer Olympics, a prospect IOC President Thomas Bach told insidethegames he "welcomes very much".

North Korean participation dominated the build-up to Pyeongchang 2018 following security concerns over missile tests and nuclear threats in the North.

Bach later admitted that the Games came close to being cancelled over safety fears, with Kim exchanging fierce rhetoric with United States President Donald Trump.

Further initiatives in Pyeongchang saw a squad of cheerleaders from the North deployed and, arguably most significantly of all, a high-level North Korean delegation travelled which included Kim Yo-jong – the sister of the leader. 

In March 2018, Bach met with Jong-un in Pyongyang and discussions began on North Korean participation at the Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 Games.

Unified Korean teams were then selected for last year's Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, in dragon boat racing, lightweight rowing and women's basketball.

The unified Korean dragon boat team made history as they claimed gold in the women's 500 metres race. 

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Kim Jong-un, Vladimir Putin Confirm Willingness to Cooperate

The Chairman of the State Committee of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Jong-un, and Russian President Vladimir Puntin reiterated Thursday their friendship and willingness to cooperate.

The intentions were emphasized by both leaders during an exchange of messages on the occasion of the 74th anniversary of Korea's liberation (August 15, 1945), according to the website of the DPRK Foreign Ministry.

Kim Jong-un, also president of the Workers' Party, said in his letter to the Russian leader that relations between Pyongyang and Moscow were at a new advanced stage.

He cited as examples the economy, culture and politics, among other sectors, which have as direct references the historical relations of brotherhood.

He added that Koreans will always remember the internationalist feats of the heroic officers and soldiers of the Red Army, who offered their precious lives for the sacred cause of Korea's liberation and accompanied the Koreans in the anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle.

In his text to Kim Jong-un, Vladimir Putin wrote that Russia and the DPRK have friendly and constructive relations.

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Japanese, South Korean FMs to Discuss Trade Dispute

Foreign Ministers of South Korea and Japan will meet this Thursday in Bangkok to negotiate a solution to the trade confrontation between the two countries.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono are in Bangkok to participate in the Regional Forum of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The diplomats will take advantage of the meeting to hold the first meeting between the two since the Japanese government banned the export to South Korea of materials for high-tech equipment.

The bilateral talks will be held one day before the Japanese government approves a law amendment to remove Seoul from the so-called white list of trusted trading partners.

At the bilateral meeting, Kang will urge Kono to withdraw what the South Korean Executive has described as unfair and unilateral measures, as well as the cancellation of South Korea's exclusion from the group of countries with minimal restrictions.

Tokyo and Seoul are in the midst of an unprecedented lawsuit due to the Japanese ban on selling to South Koreans raw materials for the production of high-tech equipment on the pretext that they are sent to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to manufacture weapons.

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Korea wins thriller against Venezuela in Day 4 of the U-12 Baseball World Cup

Day 4 of the U-12 Baseball World Cup made it clear that Japan and Chinese Taipei in group A and Korea in group B will play the super round.

Korea defeated Venezuela, 6-5, in what has been by far the most exciting game of the tournament so far. Venezuela tied it on a home run by Johan Fernandez and Korea walked it off on a solo shot by Park Yechan.

In the other two games of Day 4 in group B Mexico and the USA warmed up for the key matchup scheduled on Tuesday, 30 July.

Mexico used 26 hits to outscore Australia, 21-2

The USA scored 11 in the first and combined 28 hits to beat Italy, 28-1.

There were no surprises in group B.

The hosts Chinese Taipei needed five innings and two home runs to beat the Czech Republic, 16-0.

Cuba also played five innings and used the long ball, three home runs, to overcome South Africa, 13-0.

Cuba and the Czech Republic are now tied in third place and will face an elimination game on Tuesday, 30 July.

Japan overwhelmed Fiji 30-0. The young Samurai got 23 hits, including three home runs.

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Cuban President's Tour: Reunion with Friends of all Time

Russia, North Korea, China, Vietnam and Laos, five visits to those countries of the Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, cemented in just two weeks old and valuable relations, confirming that times pass, but the real ones friends are left.

Almost like a road map, Díaz-Canel used his Twitter account to report the main incidents in each nation and his impressions about a journey aimed at ratifying 'the continuity of the Revolution and thanks for the solidarity that fuels our resistance'.

The Cuban president made a brief stop in France, where he met with the Prime Minister Édouard Philippe, and with the Director General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay.

From there he traveled on Friday 2 to Russia, where he held official talks with his counterpart from that country, Vladimir Putin.

He also met with Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, the headlines of the Duma (Lower House), Vyacheslav Volodin, and the Senate, Valentina Matvienko, the communist leader Gennady Zyuganov and the Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russians Kiril.

At the end of their stay in Moscow, Diaz-Canel and Putin signed a joint statement in which they reaffirmed the strategic partnership between their countries, condemned the interventionism and advocated a multi-polar world.

The visit left the balance of the agreement of a greater participation of Russia in projects related to energy, transport, pharmaceutical, metallurgy, culture and humanities.

At the start of the Asian leg of his tour, the Cuban president arrived at noon on Sunday 4 to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), where he received a massive popular reception at the airport and the main avenues of Pyongyang.

In addition to holding official talks with the chairman of the State Committee of the DPRK, Kim Jong-un, Diaz-Canel met more than once with him and renewed the friendship between the two nations.

Our relations are historical and are based on mutual respect and admiration, founded on the friendship of Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz and the great leader Kim Il-sung, he said.

The Cuban president also met with the president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, Kim Yong Nam, and with Prime Minister Pak Pong Ju.

The respective delegations signed cooperation agreements in areas such as tourism, education and public health.

When he left, he wrote in his Twitter account: 'The delegation of #Cuba says goodbye to the beautiful # RepúbicaPopularDemocráticaDeCorea, to which we thank their unwavering condemnation of the blockade, a cruel and unjust policy that also suffers the Korean people for sanctions against their government #NoMasBlock '.

In China, Díaz-Canel attended the first International Exposition of Imports in Shanghai, attended by more than three thousand local and foreign companies.

In the Asian giant he was received by President Xi Jinping; Prime Minister Li Keqiang; and the President of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Li Zhanshu.

After the official talks, the parties signed agreements to increase production capacity in prioritized collaboration projects and the granting of a Chinese loan that will support the acquisition of construction equipment for the renewable energy and tourism sectors, among others.

Diaz-Canel arrived in Vietnam almost at midnight on Thursday 8 and the following day held official talks with the Secretary General of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President of this country, Nguyen Phu Trong, who imposed the Order of Ho Chi Minh.

The two presidents also witnessed the signing of the trade agreement that over the next few years will govern the operations of the two countries in this area.

In Hanoi, Diaz-Canel was also received by the Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and the head of the National Assembly, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.

On Saturday 10, he traveled to Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam and its main economic, industrial and financial center, and from there he flew directly to the neighboring Lao People's Democratic Republic (RDPL).

In Vientiane held official talks with the president and general secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, Bounnhang Vorachith.

Both also witnessed the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Ministry of Education and Sports of the RDPL and the National Institute of Physical Education, Sports and Recreation of the Antillean nation.

Members of its delegations also signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between the Bank of the RDPL and the Central Bank of Cuba.

Diaz-Canel also met with Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and the head of the National Assembly, Pany Yathotou.

  • Published in Cuba

Seoul, Washington to Hold Dialogue on Inter-Korean Relations

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have exchanged views today on the situation on the Korean peninsula and the recent high-level meetings in Panmunjom.

According to the South Korean Foreign Office, the two sides discussed by telephone the results of the cross-border talks, which ended with the agreement of an inter-Korean presidential summit next September in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Pompeo expressed his appreciation for Minister Kang's explanation and both agreed to cooperate closely in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and the establishment of a lasting peace regime, the ministry said in a press release.

Seoul and Pyongyang have scheduled the September summit amidst growing speculation about a perceived stagnation in the negotiations.

South Korea supports Washington's position of maintaining all diplomatic and economic pressure on the DPRK until Pyongyang takes what they consider to be concrete steps towards complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.

The North Korean foreign ministry referred to the suspension of nuclear testing and ballistic missile launches, as well as the elimination of the nuclear test site, as effective measures aimed at achieving mutual trust.

On the other hand, the United States has reiterated that it is too early to talk about an official statement on the end of the Korean War (1950-53), one of the main requests of the DPRK to move forward on the agreed issues.

Analysts consider that as part of the agenda of Presidents Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un in their third face-to-face meeting, it is to address the permanent peace treaty which will replace the armistice signed in 1953 and which keeps the Korean peninsula technically at war.

  • Published in World

Korea, Cuba sign 1st government level economy-related MOU

South Korea and Cuba have inked a high-level bilateral accord on an economy-related program, laying the groundwork for the launch of full-scale partnerships, Seoul’s Finance Ministry said on Oct. 14.

The two sides signed the memorandum of understanding on sharing South Korea’s experience in economic development in a ceremony held in Havana on Oct. 13 (local time), according to the ministry.

It represents the first government-level MOU between the two countries, which have no formal bilateral diplomatic relations.

South Korea has provided Cuba with advice on economic policy since last year, but there has been a limit to broader cooperation.

“The signing of the MOU this time is meaningful in that it will clear the hurdle to the process of carrying out specific cooperation projects with Cuba,” a ministry official said.

It is also expected to help South Korean firms do business in Cuba, he added.

South Korea plans to seek new joint projects in the renewable energy field starting next year.

Based on its experience in democratization and rapid economic growth, South Korea has operated a knowledge-sharing program with a number of foreign countries.

  • Published in Cuba
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