South Korea’s Presidential Office has again quashed proposals, raised throughout the week, that the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Pyeongchang could see North Korea act as a co-host.
Presidential spokesman Min Kyung-wook clarified Seoul’s stance, insisting that “as far as I know, there is no change to the Government’s position that the Winter Games should not be shared”.
On Monday (January 5), Choi Moon-soon, Governor of Gangwon Province, where Pyeongchang is located, raised the prospect of events being shared with North Korea, by proposing its bitter rival could host some of the snowboarding events at the Games.
Ryoo Kihl-jae, South Korea’s Unification Minister, added further fuel to the flames when refusal to rule out the possibility of the North staging events.
“We’re open for discussion on splitting some events with the North depending on how we make progress on inter-Korean affairs,” he said.
But today’s statement would appear to completely end suggestions that events could be staged outside South Korea following speculation in December that Nagano, hosts of the 1998 Winter Olympics, in Japan, might play host to sliding events in 2018.
The news came on the same day that Pyeongchang 2018 approved a proposed business plan and budget for 2015.
Eighteen members of the Pyeongchang Executive Board were present at the meeting, chaired by President Cho Yang-ho, in which they set goals for in-time completion of all Games-related facilities and proposed an organisational reshuffle to ensure test events are held successfully in 2016.
The meeting also put into place for various cultural and promotional activities to take place in the build up to the Games.
“In the remaining three years’ time, POCOG will bring everyone together and make through preparation efforts to stage successful Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2018,” said Cho in his opening speech, pledging precise and fast-paced preparations.
The plans and budget passed by the Executive Board will come into effect as soon as they are approved by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, it was added.
Michael Pavitt, insidethegames.biz