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Monday, May 29, 2000
IOC calls for joint Korea team for Sydney Olympics

 SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- The International Olympic Committee urged South Korea in a letter released Monday to use an upcoming summit with North Korea to form joint inter-Korea teams for this year's Sydney Olympics and other international competitions.

 In correspondence to South Korean President Kim Dae-jung dated May 25, IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch expressed hope that the June 12-14 summit would promote peace on the divided peninsula through sports exchanges.

 "In fervent hope to promote peace and a better life in the world which the IOC upholds, the IOC is prepared to offer its full assistance in reinforcing sport exchanges between two (Korean) Olympic Committees," Samaranch said.

 Samaranch specifically proposed that the two Koreas agree on forming single Korea teams for the Sydney Olympics in September and the World Table Tennis Championships in Japan next year.

 "By accepting our proposal, you will contribute greatly to the Olympic movement and world peace," Samaranch said.

 South Korean officials say that inter-Korea sports exchanges and formation of joint Korea teams for the Olympics and other international competition may be discussed at the summit.

 South Korea is keenly interested in forming a single team for the 2002 World Cup, which it will serve as co-host with Japan.

 The two Koreas fielded single teams for a world table tennis championship and a world youth soccer championship in 1990. There were no further sports exchanges between the sides because of political and military tensions.

 The Koreas remain in a state of conflict because their three-year war in the early 1950s ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.
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