North and South Korea have combined their women’s teams at the table tennis world championships. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

North and South Korea combine teams at table tennis worlds

HALMSTAD, Sweden — Ping pong diplomacy is working for North and South Korea, who have combined their women’s teams at the table tennis world championships.

The International Table Tennis Federation says the neighbouring nations’ women’s teams declined to play each other in the quarterfinals on Thursday in Sweden. Instead, they asked to join together in a combined team which would advance to Friday’s semifinals.

ITTF president Thomas Weikert says the Korean teams “received a standing ovation from the delegates who showed their sign of support to this historic move.”

South Korea’s team says it is “an important statement to promote peace between our countries through table tennis.”

The move follows intense recent cross-border diplomacy by state leaders at home.

The combined Korean team will next play either Japan or Ukraine.

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