Koreas abruptly unite for table tennis

2018 members of the unified Korean women's table tennis team hold up the Korean Unification Flag after losing to Japan in the semifinals of the World Team Table Tennis Championships at Halmstad Arena in Halmstad Sweden

Before the quarterfinal clash, the two teams informed the umpires that they did not wish to compete against each other and preferred to make a united appearance.

Following the success of the summit, planning is now underway for US President Donald Trump to fulfill with North Korean chief Kim Jong Un inside a month to additional talk about the dismantling of North Korea's nuclear arsenal.

The three-woman team - two players from the south, one from the north - lost to Japan 3-0 in the semi-finals but secured the bronze medal since the event had no third-place game.

It will be the first time for table tennis players from the two Koreas to play in the same uniform since the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships in Chiba, Japan.

In the semifinals, the Korea team will play the victor of the quarterfinal between Ukraine and Japan.

However, they approached the authorities to permit them to compete as a unified team.

2018 South Korean women's table tennis coach An Jae-hyung signs the Korean Unification Flag after the joint Korean team lost to Japan in the semifinals of the World Team Table Tennis Championships at Halmstad Arena in H

The President of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) said that the unification of the Korean teams' midway through the tournament was an attempt to further peace efforts.

"(It's) an important statement to promote peace between our countries through table tennis", the South Korean team said.

When the athletes appeared on court, the public address system announced that there was no North and no South, but Korea.

In 1972, a year after the so-called "ping pong diplomacy", Richard Nixon became the first US President to visit the People's Republic of China. It is thanks to the IOC that North Korea is participating here in Halmstad, due to their Olympic Solidarity support.

It has been a big year for the two Korean countries joining forces, after they made history by marching together in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games earlier in Pyongchang, which was the most significant sign of unity in global sport since the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships.

The two Korean teams were expected to play each other in the quarterfinals.

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