The IOC "remains committed to helping the Korean Peninsula find lasting peace," with President Thomas Bach praising the role his organization and the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics had in "easing tensions," according to Jack Tarrant of REUTERS. The Winter Games were "seen as a turning point in relations" between North and South Korea, which are "still technically at war," after a unified Korean team competed in women’s ice hockey. Speaking at the General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees in Tokyo on Thursday, Bach said that the IOC would be involved in further discussions to "strengthen peace efforts." Bach: "We have committed ourselves to this. At the very beginning of next year, there will be new talks to get together with the two NOCs of the Korean states and the two governments, to see what we can do there to strengthen these peace efforts that are underway on the political level now" (REUTERS, 11/28).
DUE DILIGENCE: Tarrant also reported the "diligent" preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games are "setting a fine example for future bids," according to Bach. He said, "For everything, there are solutions and there are solutions already underway. The facilities are ready or will be ready in time. You will experience great test events next year" (REUTERS, 11/29).
IN OUR BEST INTEREST: Tarrant reported Bach "praised" Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah for stepping down as the head of ANOC while he fights a court case and said that he "hoped the Kuwaiti would be back at the helm soon." Bach said, "We have said, first of all, that we respect the decision he took under his own will and we recognize that this decision, his decision, was taken in the interests of us all. But we have also stated, at the same time, stepping aside temporarily cannot be interpreted as any admission of guilt and that the presumption of innocence has to prevail" (REUTERS, 11/28).