The International Olympic Committee(IOC) says it is helping North Korean athletes to compete in the World Table Tennis Championships in Hamstad, Sweden. 

The IOC website says it is covering all costs related to the participation of 12 North Korean athletes in the tournament through its Olympic Solidarity, an organization aimed at assisting national Olympic committees around the world.  

The championships taking place from April 29 to May 6 is the first step toward the 18th Asian Games in August this year and ultimately toward qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. 

Table tennis is one of seven events where South Korea hopes to compete as a joint team with North Korea in the upcoming Asian Games.