S Korea committee rejects North’s bid to co-host Games

Reuters, SEOUL

Thu, Sep 05, 2013 - Page 19

The organizing committee for the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, (POCOG) has poured cold water on North Korea’s suggestion that it co-host some of the skiing events at its Masik-Ryong resort.

North Korea’s International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Chang Ung on Tuesday hinted that the North was willing to host events at the resort in Wonsan, Gangwon Province.

“When construction is complete, it [Masik] can be used in an international event and possibly in the Olympic Games,” Chang was quoted as saying in a telephone interview with US funded broadcaster Voice of America.

However, POCOG responded yesterday by saying that holding events hundreds of kilometers away from the host city was unrealistic and would breach IOC regulations.

“We should make sure technology and administrative works are in optimal condition in order to host an event and athlete-oriented Olympic Games. Holding some of the events in the Masik resort, more than 300km away from Pyeongchang, cannot guarantee meeting this goal,” the IOC said in a statement yesterday.

IOC chairman Jacques Rogge has previously expressed opposition to co-hosting events with North Korea, saying in 2011 that the IOC would consider allowing the two Koreas to march together at the 2018 opening ceremony, but not to share events.

The two Koreas have only resumed dialogue in recent weeks after months of tensions earlier this year appeared to take their frayed ties to the brink of war as Pyongyang threatened missile and nuclear attacks against the South and its ally, the US.