South cool to North’s bid to host ’18 Games

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South cool to North’s bid to host ’18 Games

The organizing committee for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics yesterday said no to North Korea’s suggestion to share the Games.

“Having the Games scattered in two Koreas does not go in line with the IOC regulations that stipulate the Games to be held only within the hosting city,” the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games said in a statement.

The South Korean hosting city was quick to respond to remarks by North Korea’s International Olympic Committee member Chang Ung in an interview on Tuesday, hinting that the North could host a ski competition at its Masikryong resort in Wonsan, if there is such a request by South Korea or the international community.

The North Korean’s remark came amid expectations of thawing tension on the Korean Peninsula after an agreement to resume the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex.

In the interview with the Voice of America, however, Chang acknowledged that it is not a simple decision to make, saying that it would require much discussion among the parties involved, including the IOC and the International Ski Federation (FIS). In July 2011, IOC President Jacques Rogge expressed pessimism over the two Koreas cohosting the Pyeongchang Games, citing a violation of the IOC charter.

The Pyeongchang committee said cohosting could also be detrimental to the quality of the Games, which it said is the “supreme value pursued at the Olympics.”“Hosting part of the Games at Masikryong Ski Resort, which is more than 300 kilometers (186.4 miles) away from Pyeongchang, makes it difficult for us to fulfill it.”

The Pyeongchang committee said that sharing the Games would also deter its plan for the construction of related infrastructure. Safety could be also compromised, it said. The South Korean resort city, about 180 kilometers east of Seoul, won the rights to host the 2018 Games over Munich and Annecy, France, in July 2011, earning votes with its plan to make a compact Olympics by allocating all the facilities within 30 minutes of each other.


BY MOON GWANG-LIP [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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