Sports ministers from S. Korea, China, Japan to meet in PyeongChang

Sports ministers from S. Korea, China, Japan to meet in PyeongChang
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South Korean Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Cho Yoon-sun will attend a conference with her Chinese and Japanese counterparts at the host city of the 2018 Winter Olympics this week to seek cooperation in sports, the ministry said Tuesday.

An inaugural trilateral meeting of sports ministers will take place in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, on Thursday and Friday. Cho will meet with Liu Peng of China and Hirokazu Matsuno of Japan.

The meeting follows a trilateral summit among South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang that took place in Seoul in November 2015. The three leaders then agreed to “promote trilateral exchanges to enhance sports cooperation and share experiences.”

The ministry said South Korea first proposed holding the sports ministers meeting to the two neighboring countries.

“There have been ministerial meetings to discuss cooperation in the culture and tourism area, but this is the first time that the ministers are gathered to talk about cooperation in sports,” the ministry said.

Three sports ministers will focus on sharing their plans for cooperation and joint projects in hosting Olympic Games.

South Korea is the host nation of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games and Japan will receive the Olympic baton in two years as they stage the Summer Games in Tokyo. China will host the Winter Games in Beijing in 2022.

They will discuss plans for making “Cultural Olympics,” and creating an Olympic legacy as well as sharing experience in sports development. The three East Asian nations will also exchange their ideas on doping controls.

The three ministers will sign a joint declaration after the meeting and attend a ceremonial event that wishes successful hosting of the Olympics, the ministry added.

The ministry said Cho, who was appointed the sports minister earlier this month, will also hold two-way talks with Liu Peng and Matsuno to discuss bilateral cooperation with their respective countries in sports matters.

For the bilateral meeting with China, South Korea will check their cooperation process in the upcoming Olympics as well as planning joint sports festivals. They will also seek exchanging various sports programs, including an anti-doping system.

With Japan, South Korea will discuss their cooperation plans on connecting the 2017 Sapporo Asian Winter Games, the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games and the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games. Two sides will also share ideas on expanding sports program for the elderly.