PYEONGCHANG, February 16, 2017 – AIPS President Gianni Merlo met with the Minister of Sport of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Kim Il Guk at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games to discuss how North Korean sports journalists can once again become an active member of the International Sports Press Association.
Kim Il Guk, who is also the President of the North Korean Olympic Committee, is in PyeongChang for the Winter Olympics, which have sent out a message of peace and dialogue between North and South. In January, Kim Il Guk headed the delegation that met with IOC President Thomas Bach and South Korea’s Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, with the three sides signing the “Olympic Korean Peninsula Declaration” that confirmed North Korea’s participation in the PyeongChang Games, just 65km from the peninsula’s demilitarized zone.
The Games have served to project an open image of the North Korean nation, from their march with the South under a unified flag in the opening ceremony, to the presence of 22 athletes on the ice, including those who are part of the combined Korean women’s ice hockey team.
The delegation has also included a number of North Korean journalists, with Kim Il Guk confirming the door will soon be opened for them to become members of AIPS. A roadmap with AIPS President Gianni Merlo was established for the North Korean Sports Journalists Association to renew its membership and strengthen its presence in international sports coverage.
“North Korean sport has an important tradition, and we hope that our colleagues from North Korea will once again become active members of AIPS and continue this road of dialogue that was started here in PyeongChang,” Gianni Merlo said.