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Koreas' joint march at Olympics opening to be 'very emotional': IOC president
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승인 2018.02.08  
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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea, Feb. 7 (Yonhap) -- The head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Wednesday predicted that the upcoming joint march by the two Koreas at the opening of the PyeongChang Winter Games will be an emotional embodiment of the Olympic spirit of peace.

Last month, the IOC and the two Koreas reached an agreement over North Korea's participation in the PyeongChang Olympics, which open Friday. Athletes of the two Koreas will enter PyeongChang Olympic Stadium behind the Korean Unification Flag, an image of the Korean Peninsula in blue against a white background, at the opening ceremony.

IOC President Thomas Bach said at a press conference that the joint march will be a "very emotional moment," not just for the Olympics but also for him personally as a citizen of Germany, a once-divided nation.

"Coming from a formerly divided country and having competed for a divided country into two different teams, this is very special and also an emotional moment," Bach told reporters.

The IOC president said he will attend the match of the joint women's hockey team between South and North Korea against Switzerland on Saturday.

Bach also underlined that IOC has continued maintaining contacts with and providing support towards the North's national Olympic committee for years and promised to "continue to support (North Korea) as far as the U.N. sanctions are allowing."

   The IOC president also hinted that the North's participation at the Games has served as a catalyst in easing security and geopolitical tensions in the region.

"A couple of months ago, the question was not (whether) the athletes of the DPRK would participate here. The question was whether the Olympic Games could take place here," noted Bach.

He added, "we tried to make it clear that our approach is that the Olympic Games should be beyond political tensions."

   Bach dodged a question over VIP seating arrangement at Friday's opening ceremony, which is drawing keen attention amid the scheduled attendances by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo-jong, who has climbed the regime's power ladder at an unprecedented speed.

"The opening ceremony usually you have one side which belongs to the IOC and the other side which belongs to the organizing committee and the host country, explained Bach.

"I will not make the mistake to try to interfere into the seating of the host country or the organizing committee," he added.

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