North Korean official says nation will discuss co-hosting 2018 Winter Olympics with South Korea

Seoul: A North Korean official on Friday said he will discuss the idea of co-hosting South Korea's 2018 Winter Games with Olympic chief Thomas Bach, as Seoul denied suggesting such a move.

Jang Woong, the North's delegate to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), will meet Bach in South Korea next week.

He was speaking after South Korea's sports minister was quoted as saying some skiing events for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics could be held in North Korea, although officials insist he was misunderstood.

Representative photo. Reuters

Representative photo. Reuters

"That is not something the two sides can decide," Jang told reporters, when he was asked about North Korea potentially hosting Olympic events.

"It will be discussed when the IOC president arrives and I will take part in the discussion as an IOC delegate," added Jang, as he arrived in South Korea for a taekwondo conference.

Despite Jang's comments, South Korea said sports minister Do Jong-Hwan was misunderstood when he mentioned a North Korean skiing resort in relation to next February's Games.

"Do repeatedly made it clear that he meant to say using Masikryong resort as a possible venue for training of athletes or rehearsals before the games," sports ministry spokesman Park Jung-Youl told AFP.

"Sharing some Pyeongchang Olympics events with the North is simply out of question," he added.

However, Do does plan to raise the idea of inviting North Korean players to join South Korea's women's ice hockey team for the Pyeongchang Olympics, the spokesman said.

South and nuclear-armed North Korea are separated by one of the world's most heavily armed borders, and remain technically at war.

But South Korea's new president Moon Jae-In suggested earlier this month that the two Koreas should apply to co-host the 2030 FIFA World Cup.

"If the neighbouring countries in northeast Asia, including North and South Korea, can host the World Cup together, it would help to create peace," Moon said.

South Korea considered sharing some events at the Seoul 1988 Olympics with the North. But talks broke down and the North boycotted the Games.

Updated Date: Jun 24, 2017 02:10 AM

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