Jakarta (AFP) – Leaders of the two Koreas were invited to the Asian Games next month in Indonesia, Jakarta said on Monday, after neighbors had agreed to place several joint teams at the event.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo sent a formal invitation on Friday to South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Widody's spokesman said, but it was not immediately clear if they had both answered.

"The invitation letters were sent to the leaders," spokesman Johan Budi told AFP.

Last month, Asian Games organizers announced that North and South Korea will team up in three sports – canoeing, rowing and women's basketball – to thaw out signs of tensions.

The two countries that are technically still warring after the Korean War of 1950/53 and ending with a ceasefire rather than a peace treaty will also march at the opening and closing ceremonies of the flagship event from 18 August to 2 September.

The two Koreas formed their first unified Olympic team – a joint women's ice hockey team – for the Winter Games in the south last February, with the participation of the north triggering a thaw between the two neighbors.

The diplomatic recovery also sparked a rapid improvement in relations between Pyongyang and Washington, culminating in the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump in Singapore.

The Asian Games, which will be held in Jakarta and Palembang on the island of Sumatra, will lead around 11,000 athletes in 40 sports – the second largest multi-sports event behind the Olympics.


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