Unified Korea team lose to Japan in table tennis World Team semi-finals

The unified North and South Korea women's table tennis team lost 3-0 to Japan in their semi-final at the World Team Championships.

The nations, who were due to face each other in Thursday's quarter-finals, decided to instead form a unified team for the last-four match in Sweden.

The move came days after leaders of the two countries pledged to rid the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons.

Two South Korea players were joined on the team by one from North Korea.

While the players wore their own country's kit, both coaches and the non-playing team-members were together at the side of the court in support.

Although Kim Song-i, from North Korea, had match points against Kasumi Ishikawa, the Japanese player triumphed 11-4 6-11 11-8 11-13 16-14.

Jeon Jihee lost 3-0 to world number seven Mima Ito while Yang Ha-eun was beaten 3-1 by Miu Hirano.

The last time a unified Korea team played at the tournament was in Japan in 1991 where a women's team shocked defending champions China to win gold.

The decision to form a team was a tripartite agreement between the leaders of the North and South Korean delegations and the International Table Tennis Federation.

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