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Civic groups call for inter-Korean co-hosting of PyeongChang Olympics

December 15, 2014
The construction of the Gangneung Science Oval, the venue of speed skating for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, begins at the Gangneung Sports Complex in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, on Oct. 29, 2014. (Yonhap)

The construction of the Gangneung Science Oval, the venue of speed skating for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, begins at the Gangneung Sports Complex in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, on Oct. 29, 2014. (Yonhap)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — South Korean civic groups proposed Monday that the rival Koreas co-host the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, saying it could help pave the way for unification of the divided peninsula.

The Dhangoon National Peace and Unification Council, representing some 120 civic groups, made the proposal in rejection of the suggested co-hosting of the international sports event by South Korea and Japan.

Earlier this month, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved a set of recommendations, which included a cost-saving option for an Olympic host city to co-host the games with foreign cities.

The possibility of co-hosting the upcoming PyeongChang Olympics with the Japanese city of Nagano, the host of the 1998 Winter Olympics, has since been raised, with the PyeongChang organizer rejecting the idea.

“The PyeongChang Winter Olympics, which we managed to get to host after three successive attempts, should not be co-hosted by Japan. Rather than that, it should be a festival which could greatly contribute to the peace of our people and the Korean Peninsula as well as unification of South and North Korea,” the council said in a statement.

“The South and the North’s co-hosting would form an opportunity (for the IOC) to fulfill the philosophy of the Olympics and for our (Korean) nation to overcome 70 years of division and the Cold War and open the door for unification,” the statement also said.

Co-hosting the local event with Japan would be emotionally unacceptable, given the current diplomatic tension between the two countries, the council said.

The latest proposal mirrors a pro-North Korean group’s similar suggestion last week.

Choson Sinbo, North Korea’s mouthpiece newspaper published in Japan, suggested the Masikryong ski resort, which was recently opened in the North, be used to co-host the winter games between the two Koreas, saying it would contribute to peace in the region.

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