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Sports ministers from S. Korea, China, Japan vow to strengthen cooperation

2018/09/13 11:01

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SEOUL, Sept. 13 (Yonhap) -- Sports ministers from South Korea, China and Japan on Thursday wrapped up their meeting in Tokyo aimed at expanding cooperation and exchange programs among the three nations.

The two-day talks kicked off Wednesday at New Otani Hotel in Tokyo with a series of bilateral meetings between Do Jong-hwan, the South Korean sports minister; Yoshimasa Hayashi, the Japanese minister of sports; and Gao Zhidan, deputy director of the General Administration of Sport of China.

They then held a trilateral meeting on Thursday and adopted a joint declaration called "Tokyo Action Plan," which aims to carry out agreements in "Pyeongchang Declaration," that was signed in their inaugural meeting in 2016 in PyeongChang, South Korea. It pledges to further develop mutual trust and understanding through sports exchanges and to promote peace in Northeast Asia using sports.

The trilateral sports ministers meeting was designed to ensure cooperation and exchanges among the three nations that are also the hosts of three consecutive Olympics in Northeast Asia. South Korea this February staged the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Tokyo will host the 2020 Summer Olympics and Beijing will be home to the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The three nations agreed to boost personnel exchanges at various levels, from women to disabled athletes, and to develop the winter sports area.

South Korea promised to pass on its know-how and technology used at the PyeongChang Olympics to the organizers of Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022. The country also requested that Japanese and Chinese organizers use their experienced workforce and competition venues.

The three nations, all Asian representative members for the World Anti-Doping Agency, also agreed to share education programs and other work regarding doping.

During the trilateral meeting, South Korea asked for China and Japan's support for the participation of unified Korean teams in their sports events.

South and North Korean athletes marched together at the PyeongChang Olympics opening ceremony and formed a joint team in women's hockey. At the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, the unified Korean team in rowing, canoeing and women's basketball grabbed one gold, one silver and two bronze medals.

South Korea's sports ministry said it will pursue joint parades at the opening and closing ceremonies of Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022. It will also systemically prepare to have joint Korean teams in certain sports disciplines after listening to voices in the sports community.

To ensure mutual development and harmony in the Northeast Asian region, it also proposed that South Korea, Japan, China and North Korea co-host the FIFA World Cup in 2030 or 2034. The ministry added that it introduced the idea of the South and North co-hosting the Olympics in the future.

The three nations agreed that their next sports ministers meeting will be held in China in 2020. Until then, they will have an annual working-level meeting to check whether the "Tokyo Action Plan" is being properly carried out.

kdon@yna.co.kr

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