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President Moon still hopeful NK will join Olympics

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday that the government is conducting talks with Winter Olympic authorities for North Korea’s participation in the upcoming 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games.

“We are working with the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee for North Korea’s participation. They are both persistently recommending the North‘s participation, and believe that it is possible,” said Moon, during a meeting with sports news editors from 35 local news outlets on the presidential train en route to Gangneung, Gangwon Province, one of the venues for the games. 

President Moon Jae-in speaks during his meeting Tuesday with sports news editors from 35 local news outlets on the presidential train from Seoul to Gangneung, Gangwon Province. (Joint Press Corp.)
President Moon Jae-in speaks during his meeting Tuesday with sports news editors from 35 local news outlets on the presidential train from Seoul to Gangneung, Gangwon Province. (Joint Press Corp.)


“Judging by past cases, even if the North does participate, it will confirm in the last moments. We plan to continue persuading. The government is patiently waiting.”

The Moon administration has been pushing for Pyongyang’s participation in the PyeongChang Winter Games, which will mark the first time the global sports event will be held on the Korean Peninsula. The communist country has remained mum on the proposal.

The president said that he believed the upcoming PyeongChang games, 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games, and 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games will present a chance to ease the tension in the Far East region. The inter-Korea relations -- along with the relations with the surrounding countries -- have been strained over the Kim Jong-un regime’s attempts to complete its nuclear and ballistic missile development. 

President Moon Jae-in speaks during his meeting Tuesday with sports news editors from 35 local news outlets on the presidential train from Seoul to Gangneung, Gangwon Province. (Joint Press Corp.)
President Moon Jae-in speaks during his meeting Tuesday with sports news editors from 35 local news outlets on the presidential train from Seoul to Gangneung, Gangwon Province. (Joint Press Corp.)


“If the three countries can use the three Olympic Games as an opportunity to cooperate, it will contribute greatly not only to peace on the Korean Peninsula, but also to the peace and prosperity in the entire Northeast Asia,” Moon said.

During the recent South Korea-China summit, Moon and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed that the North‘s participation in the games will contribute to easing regional tensions.


By Yoon Min-sik and Joint Press Corp.
(minsikyoon@heraldcorp.com)

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