losangelesnewstoday.com May 20, 2018

Pingpong diplomacy: Koreas join teams at table tennis worlds

07 May 2018, 12:31 | Katrina Lee

2 Koreas Form Unified Table Tennis Team in Surprise Move in Sweden

2 Koreas forming unified table tennis team

Before the quarterfinal clash, the two teams informed the umpires that they did not wish to compete against each other and preferred to make a united appearance.

The draw pit North Korea against South Korea in the quarter-finals of the women's world championship, and was scheduled to play today, but before the start of the representatives of the teams told the referees not to want to play against each other during the confrontation.

The World Table Tennis Championship 2018 witnessed history after North and South Korea made a decision to use sports as a platform to promote peace.

Weikert said, who added there was no external pressure to combine the Korean teams and the ITTF has informed the International Olympic Committee of the news.

According to the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), this is the first time the two Koreas will compete as one team at the world championships since the 1991 tournament in Chiba.

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Although Kim Song-i, from North Korea, had match points against Kasumi Ishikawa, the Japanese player triumphed 11-4 6-11 11-8 11-13 16-14.

The move follows the North and South Korean leaders' pledge for "lasting peace" to the Korea peninsula just last week, which portrays that table tennis is the ideal medium to promote peace through sport.

"Until now, table tennis has been involved in the push for world peace, and this is the fruit of that effort", said Ichiro Hoshino, the executive director of the Japan Table Tennis Association. Instead of matches, the players from each nation smiled and stood together on court. South Korea's standing is 5th while North Korea is down at 22nd. Often called "Ping-Pong diplomacy", the games paved the way for Nixon to become the first American president to visit the People's Republic of China and begin to thaw relations between the two countries.

South Korea's Suh Hyo-won (left) and North Korea's Kim Nam-hae play an exhibition game in Halmstad, Sweden on Thursday. The two Korean teams also marched together at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeonchang at the opening ceremony.

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