SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- The International Olympic Committee will encourage North and South Korea to march under one flag in the Sydney opening ceremony.
Jacques Rogge, the head of the IOC's co-ordination commission, also said today that Korean athletes would have to compete under the separate flags of the countries for which they qualified.
"If the (two Koreas) want to march together, we'll give our permission -- it would be a very symbolic gesture," Rogge said on the eve of a two-day co-ordination commission meeting.
He added that a unified team was a real possibility for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.
Rogge said IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch proposed the unified march last month before the historic summit between North and South Korean leaders in Pyongyang.
At the summit, North Korea leader Kim Jong Il responded favourably to proposals put forward by South Korean president Kim Dae-jung for the unified march and for sporting exchanges.
The Koreas have remained in an official state of conflict because their war in the early 1950s ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.
In other developments, Rogge said Fijian athletes would not be barred from competing in Sydney despite the ongoing political coup in the tiny Pacific country.
Rogge said Fijian athletes who had qualified for the Games could not be refused visas for Australia. The Australian government agreed earlier that athlete accreditation would double as entry visas for the duration of the Olympics.