SKorean president calls for NKorean Olympic participation

BIGBANG's Taeyang holds up a card showing him as an honorary ambassador for the 2018 Pyeong Chang Winter Olympics alongside Lee Hee-beom head of PyeongChang's organizing committee at a ceremony in Seoul

Do Jong-hwan, South Korean minister of culture, sports and tourism, said he would "push ahead for discussions with the International Olympic Committee and other relevant entities" in the hopes of hosting an "Olympics for peace".

Chang made the remark as he arrived in the Gimpo International Airport on Friday along with other members of the North Korean delegation to the World Taekwondo Championships to open in Muju in North Jeolla Province on Saturday.

The proposal could receive criticism from the United States, which is reeling from the death of Otto Warmbier, a University of Virginia student who was arrested by North Korea in 2015 for allegedly stealing a propaganda sign during his trip to the country.

However, South Korea has never finished higher than eighth in an Olympic ski jumping event.

But further talks must be held with the International Olympic Committee because North Korean athletes have not yet qualified for the winter games, he added.

PyeongChang 2018 will take place from February 9 to 25 next year in PyeongChang, some 180 kilometers east of Seoul, and its neighboring sub-host cities in Gangwon Province.

"The whole point of the Olympics is to use sports as a way to bridge even the most acrimonious political divides", he said.




He said he would discuss co-hosting at the Masikryong ski resort with Jang Woong, North Korea's delegate to the IOC.

Moon was elected as the country's President on May 9, after a cronyism scandal led to Park Geun-hye being impeached.

But building stadiums and holding games in North Korea would raise two major questions: How sound is investment in a nation that continues to threaten its neighbors and enemies with an ever-evolving nuclear missile program, and would global travelers feel at ease visiting the country that just released a USA detainee in a coma?

No North Korean athletes have qualified for the 2018 games. The minister said PyeongChang 2018 could be the "Peace Olympics" if North Korea was to participate.

The Games are to be held in PyeongChang, which is just 40 miles from the demilitarized zone separating North from South.

He also said the countries may enter a combined ice hockey team.

He insisted there are no contingency plans to move the Games should matters escalate further.

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