Olympic leaders call for talks to include North Korean athletes at Games

The International Olympic Committee on Wednesday called for a meeting with North and South Korean officials to discuss the participation of North Korean athletes at the upcoming 2018 Winter Games.

The announcement follows Tuesday’s joint proposal by the countries’ governments.

“This is a great step forward in the Olympic spirit,” IOC President Thomas Bach said. “Now the IOC must take the decisions to make this political commitment a reality.”

Bach has proposed a Jan. 20 meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, that would include the IOC, Olympic organizers and officials from both countries.

Because entry deadlines for athletes already have passed, the IOC must decide which North Korean athletes would be allowed to compete in which events. It also must approve protocol relating to uniforms, anthem and official flag.

david.wharton@latimes.com

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