North Korea's rare visit has spurred a frenzy in South Korea as hundreds of people rushed to see the taekwondo competition.

The 2017 WTF World Taekwondo Championships is taking place in Muju, South Korea in June 24-30, 2017.
The 2017 WTF World Taekwondo Championships is taking place in Muju, South Korea in June 24-30, 2017. (TRT World and Agencies)

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in on Saturday attended the World Taekwondo Championship and, with North Korean athletes present for the first time, said he hoped to see an inter-Korean team at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

North Korea-led International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) showcased their performance at the opening ceremony of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) World Taekwondo Championships in Muju, about 239 km south of Seoul.

It is their first demonstration in a WTF competition in South Korea.

Competitors from more than 180 countries are in Muju for the championship.

TRT World's Joseph Kim has the story.

Too late for proposal

A leading North Korean sports official believes it is too late to consider Moon's proposal to form a unified team, saying that the political tension must be resolved first.

North Korean International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Chang Ung ruled out the idea of a North-South team, telling the Dong-a Ilbo newspaper that it was an unrealistic aim in the present political climate.

"It took us 22 rounds of talks to set up that joint (table tennis) team for the 1991 games. It took us five months," Chang, who is leading the North Korea delegation at the taekwondo event, said.

"That's the reality we face."

Chang also ruled out the possibility of using venues in the North to co-host the February 9-25 Winter Games and dismissed the notion that a unified team would help improve ties by saying, "The Olympics should not be used for a political aim."

"As an expert of the Olympics, it is a little late to be talking about co-hosting. It's easy to talk about co-hosting, but it is never easy to solve practical problems for that. It's the same for forming a joint team for ice hockey," Chang added.

Source: TRT World