DPRK and ROK join forces at World Table Tennis Championship

World Today

Teams of North Korea and South Korea pose together for a picture at the World Team Table Tennis Championships 2018 in Halmstad, Sweden May 3, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / TT News Agency / Jonas Ekstromer)

In Sweden, the two Koreas have formed a unified women’s team to compete at the International Table Tennis World Championships. The two sides will form a 12-member joint Korean women’s table tennis team.

CGTN’s Su Xiaoxiao reports.

Instead of fighting against each other at the quarter-finals, both teams chose to march together into the semi-finals. The decision was made by the DPRK, ROK and International Table Tennis Federation.

The DPRK’s table tennis player Kim Song I couldn’t hold in her excitement. She told CGTN that she still couldn’t believe this actually happened. South Korean player Yang Ha-eun said she hoped the unified team could dash to the finals. The merger was a surprise to both sides.

The ROK team’s coach, Ahn Jae-hyung, told CGTN that he and his team were informed ahead of Thursday’s match. Later in the day, the unified team was scheduled to have a meeting on their next match against Japan. Unfortunately, the DPRK men’s team was eliminated from the games.

This is not the first time that both Koreas merged at the World Team Table Tennis Championships. In 1991, both Koreas united for a game in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. The united Korean women’s team won the final game, after beating the defending champion China.

Besides joining forces in table tennis, the DPRK and ROK also combined their women’s hockey teams at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.