International Olympic Committee president meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. Reuters

President Thomas Bach travelled to Pyongyang on Thursday, the Olympic body said, in a visit that comes after North Korea's participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Games helped ease inter-Korean relations.

He said Kim Jong Un supported a plan to have North Korean athletes compete in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics and the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.

International Olympic Committee president Bach travelled to Pyongyang after North Korea's participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Games that helped to ease tensions over the Korean peninsula.

It was not known if Bach would meet during his three-day visit with leader Kim Jong Un, who has just returned from a summit in Beijing with Chinese President Xi Jinping, his first known trip overseas as leader.

The IOC head said the decision was "fully supported" by Kim during their "very open and fruitful discussion" on Friday.

Bach's exact itinerary in Pyongyang remains unclear but his visit comes amid a flurry of global outreach by North Korea.

According to Reuters, Bach said that the International Olympic Committee would "make a proposal for a potential joint march or potential other joint activities for Tokyo and then maybe also for Beijing at the appropriate time".

North Korea's official KCNA news agency said Kim thanked Bach for helping to bring about a "dramatic thawing" of tensions on the Korean peninsula. He added that Kim told him the North's participation in the Pyeongchang games and marching together with South Korean athletes were an "important contribution to a peaceful dialogue".

In line with the decisions reached at the January 20 meeting, the North not only sent Olympic athletes but also a cheerleading squad and an arts troupe, easing military tensions and paving the way for inter-Korea talks.

The isolated, nuclear-armed regime rarely hosts foreign dignitaries but recent weeks have seen a flurry of diplomacy, with Kim making his first foreign trip as leader to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and inviting him to visit Pyongyang. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said he is exploring the possibility of a meeting with Kim as well.

Raising the level of North Korean athletes has been high on Kim's agenda since he became leader. Of the 22 North Korean athletes who competed in the Pyeongchang Olympics, only two won places on merit and the other 20 were granted spots by the IOC.

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