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South Korea in bid to co-host 2032 Olympics with North

Thursday, 1 April 2021 (21:50 IST)
South Korean capital Seoul sent a proposal for co-hosting the 2032 Summer Olympics with the North’s Pyongyang to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the South’s capital said on Thursday.

Seoul submitted the proposal, despite the IOC having picked Australian city Brisbane as its frontrunner for the summer games.

After “immediately expressing regret at the decision” and holding consultations, Seoul submitted the co-hosting proposal, reported news agency Yonhap, quoting the Seoul government.

Seoul is seeking to keep alive an agreement made between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a summit in in Pyongyang in 2018, when they agreed to bid to co-host the Games. But inter-Korean relations remain as tense as ever.

Seoul city said the host has not been finalized and it submitted the proposal with a vision titled “Beyond the Line, Toward the Future.”

“The city government conveyed its legitimacy and need to co-host the Olympics, stressing that it will realize the IOC’s vision of world peace through sports,” it said in a statement.

Is Pyongyang on board?

The Moon administration is seeking to build on the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics it hosted, during which athletes from both Koreas marched under a unified flag at the opening ceremony and fielded a combined women’s ice hockey team.

But it is unclear what role North Korea’s secretive, totalitarian government played in the proposal.

When asked about whether the idea was shared with Pyongyang, a city official in Seoul told Reuters news agency that the proposal was the result of intra-agency meetings.

The Unification Ministry in charge of inter-Korean affairs would seek discussions with the North, the official added.

South Korea has expressed hopes of reviving the momentum for ties at this year’s Tokyo Olympics. But Pyongyang has dismissed Moon’s hopes of a restart of talks in recent weeks, amid a period of more fractious diplomacy following the latest Western sanctions.

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