IOC supports South Korea's promise to help North Korea at Pyeongchang 2018


IOC president Thomas Bach has supported South Korea's pledge to encourage North Korean participation at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Bach met with South Korean president Moon Jae-in on Monday for what the pair described as "friendly" and "very fruitful" talks at the Blue House, Moon's official residence.

Despite growing political tensions between the neighbours, Moon has urged North Korea to participate in Pyeongchang next year, while Bach has even mooted a unified Korean team at the Games.

Following Monday's meeting, the IOC issued a release confirming it had invited North Korea to take part, while promising support for any athletes willing to do so.

"The IOC sent invitations to take part in the Games to National Olympic Committees, including the National Olympic Committee of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), already in February of this year," a statement read.

"Furthermore, the IOC is also supporting a number of athletes from the DPRK to assist them to qualify.

"The two leaders [Bach and Moon] agreed to cooperate closely with regard to the further preparations including the participation of athletes of the NOC of DPRK, and its modalities."

"The Olympic Winter Games can greatly assist in the reconciliation and cooperation between the two Koreas and peace on the Korean peninsula," said Moon.

Bach added: "The IOC appreciates very much President Moon's vision of how the Olympic Games can support dialogue and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula and beyond.

"We can look forward to excellent Olympic Winter Games from Korea to the world."