Culture Minister: No Country Considering Opting out of PyeongChang Olympics

Culture Minister: No Country Considering Opting out of PyeongChang Olympics

South Korea's government is urging North Korea to participate in the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games as a measure of security during the two weeks of competition and as way to promote a longer-term reduction in tension on the Korean Peninsula.

Culture, Sports and Tourism Minister Do Jong-hwan made the remark during a meeting with reporters in NY on Tuesday afternoon, a day after he observed the adoption of a resolution of the Olympic Truce for the 2018 Games at the UN General Assembly.

In his words, "Only the United Nations member states can guarantee the athletes the safe passage to the Olympic Games".

The resolution calls for the Olympic Truce to be respected from seven days before the start of the Olympic Games in February 2018 until seven days after the Paralympic Games. The title of the draft resolution was "Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal".

"Today, I hope to witness this power again", she continued. "Indeed PyeongChang represents the most honest efforts to cross borders between south and north and foster a peaceful environment".

"In our fragile world that is drifting apart, the Olympic Games have the power to unite humanity in all its diversity", Bach said.

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The resolution noted "possibilities of new partnership in sport and beyond for Republic of Korea, Japan and China".

It was claimed last month that North Korea had expressed their intention to compete at the Winter Paralympic Games, which would require them to be given wildcard entries.

The resolution was spearheaded by South Korea, who submitted it to the General Assembly on behalf of the Olympic Movement and the PyeongChang 2018 Organizing Committee (Pocog), led by its President Lee Hee-beom. "For them to participate is a sign that we'll have safe and secure and good Games", Do Jong-hwan, South Korea's minister of culture, sports and tourism, said at an event organised by the New York-based Korea Society.

The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday in a statement "welcomed" the United Nations resolution and added that "the expression of the expectation that it will help promote peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia reflects the Korean government's commitment to make the PyeongChang event an 'Olympic of Peace'".

"If we can harmonise with each other, it will be a new beginning of peace on the Korean peninsula".

Another reason for Olympic officials' optimism over possible North Korea attendance in Pyeongchang is that leader Kim Jong Un is a well-known sports fan, and he has spent heavily on sport in connection with his bid to lift living standards in the North.

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