North Korea Said Seeking to Co-Host Winter Olympics

Posted July 13th, 2011 at 12:45 am (UTC-5)
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South Korean officials say it is too soon to comment on a report that North Korea would like to co-host the 2018 Winter Olympics, which are scheduled to be held in South Korea.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted North Korean Olympic official Jang Ung as saying he hopes his country will be able to host some of the events if political and military strains between the countries can be improved. He was speaking in Tokyo, where he will attend a meeting Thursday of the Olympic Council of Asia.

South Korea's unification ministry acknowledged the comments at a news conference Wednesday, but noted it has been less than a week since the games were awarded to the South Korean city of Pyeongchang. A spokeswoman said the government has “nothing to say about it yet.”

There has already been discussion in Seoul about the possibility of fielding a combined team of North and South Korean athletes at the 2018 games. The two countries marched together at the Summer Olympics in 2000 and 2004.

However relations have soured since the election of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, and there were no joint marches in 2008 or at the Asian Games last year.

Sohn Kah-kyu, leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, said earlier this week that he would explore ways for North Korea to co-host the 2018 games. He said the games should be “a turning point in the history of the divided peninsula, as well as in global peace.”