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SBD Global/September 5, 2013/Olympics

PyeongChang Rejects North Korea's Bid To Co-Host 2018 Winter Olympics

Organizers of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics made it clear that "they have no intention of splitting Olympic skiing events with North Korea," according to Jung Min-ho of the KOREA TIMES. North Korea IOC representative Chang Ung suggested that the country’s Masik ski resort, more than 300km away from PyeongChang, "could be used as a competition venue once construction is completed." Officials at PyeongChang, however, said Chang’s idea would be “practically impossible’’ (KOREA TIMES, 9/4). In Seoul, Oliver Hotham reported PyeongChang organizers argue that rule 34 of the IOC’s Olympic Charter stipulates that "events must take place in the host city, unless the IOC Executive Board allows it." Other cities can only host events on an “exceptional basis,” and the organizers warned that it "would be impractical to host events" in North Korea. Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology and Modern Korea Leeds University Aidan Foster-Carter said while “a lot can happen in five years,” for the North to host any event it “would really have to clean up its act.” This "is not the first time North Koreans have expressed a desire to split the 2018 games with the South." When PyeongChang was first granted the right to host the games in '11, North Korean spokesperson Chang Ung said that "he hoped both Koreas could host the games" (NK NEWS, 9/4).

ROGGE AGAINST MOVE: REUTERS' Kim & Lee reported IOC President Jacques Rogge "has previously expressed opposition to co-hosting events with North Korea," saying in '11 that the IOC "would consider allowing the two Koreas to march together at the 2018 opening ceremony but not to share events." Rogge: "As far as spreading venues between the two countries, that is something we do not consider under the current Olympic Charter." Chang told U.S. funded broadcaster Voice of America that "the Masik resort could possibly hold 2018 events if an agreement could be reached." Chang: "When construction is complete, it (Masik) can be used in an international event and possibly in the Olympic Games." Chang acknowledged, however, that "it was not a simple decision to make and that there would have to be complex discussions among several bodies such as the IOC and International Ski Federation to assess the possibility" (REUTERS, 9/4).
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