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Olympics Pope praises Korean Olympic rapprochement

Pope Francis on Wednesday praised as a gesture for a "better world" plans for a joint parade Friday by delegations from South and North Korea to open the Winter Olympics.

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Pope Francis said plans for a joint Korean parade at the Winter Olympics "gives us hope of a better world" play

Pope Francis said plans for a joint Korean parade at the Winter Olympics "gives us hope of a better world"

(AFP)

Pope Francis on Wednesday praised as a gesture for a "better world" plans for a joint parade Friday by delegations from South and North Korea to open the Winter Olympics.

"The traditional Olympic truce this year takes on special importance," the pontiff said at his weekly general audience.

"This gives us hope of a better world where conflicts are resolved peacefully through dialogue and mutual respect, as sport also teaches us."

The delegations from both Koreas -- technically still at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in an armistice with neither side victorious -- will parade together wearing the same costumes and under a sole flag at Friday's ceremony to open the Games in the southern city of Pyeongchang.

North Korea has sent 22 athletes in all, including 12 on a united women's ice hockey team, to Pyeongchang, which lies just 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of the border.

The South says it aims to host "Games of Peace" rising above more than six decades of political tensions between the two Koreas.

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