by Maria Pia Beltran, AIPS Media
LAUSANNE, September 6, 2018 – AIPS President Gianni Merlo, together with AIPS Secretary General and Treasurer, Jura Ozmec (Croatia), and President of the Korean Sports Press Union, Hee Don Jung (South Korea), will be in Pyongyang from 7 to 10 September, where the delegation has been invited to attend the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The invitation, issued by Kim Il Guk, the Minister of Sport of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the President of the North Korean Olympic Committee, will also be an ideal opportunity to discuss how North Korean sports journalists can once again become active members of the International Sports Press Association.
“This will certainly be a very fascinating visit that will take us to know a reality that very few can say they had the chance to experience,” the AIPS President said on the eve of the trip to Pyongyang.
“The North Korean Sports Journalists Association wishes to return to be a part of AIPS. Talks for this began last winter during the Winter Olympics, which saw for the first time the athletes of the two teams from North and South Korea competing together in certain disciplines, demonstrating once again the value of union and of cooperation, which are intrinsic to sport,” Merlo said.
The AIPS President had met with Kim Il Guk at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, where a roadmap of cooperation with AIPS was put in place for the North Korean Sports Journalists Association to renew its membership and strengthen its presence in international sports coverage.
The Games in PyeongChang were milestone in international sport and in the cooperation between North and South Korea and its athletes. The Games 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. This included those who are part of the combined Korean women’s ice hockey team, and a delegation that also boasted a number of North Korean journalists, for whom the Sports Minister confirmed would have the opportunity to become members of AIPS as early as 2019.