Seoul preps bid to co-host 2032 Summer Olympics with North Korea

North Korea South Korea Seoul Olympics
A flag handover ceremony at the closing ceremony of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. South Korea is looking to co-host the 2032 Summer Games wit the North. (Richard Ellis/UPI photo)

SEOUL (UPI) — North and South Korea could soon be co-bidders for the 2032 Summer Olympics, according to South Korean press reports.

The city of Seoul, selected to be the country’s Olympic Bid City on Monday, could be pursuing a joint bid with Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea, according to Yonhap News Agency.

The decision to select Seoul, over Busan, was made at the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee on Monday, News 1 reported.

Seoul received higher marks for infrastructure, transportation and accommodations. The city also holds an advantage, with its relative proximity to Pyongyang, should the two Koreas agree to co-host the Summer Olympic Games.

The Olympics have provided opportune moments to ease inter-Korea tensions. In 2018, North Korea’s participation at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the South was followed by an unprecedented year of engagement with Seoul and Washington.

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon has been a vocal advocate for engagement. In 2016, the city disclosed an “urban collaboration initiative” between the two capital cities. Under Park, the city is expected to establish an inter-Korea cooperation fund of $35.5 million.

The plans to co-bid for the 2032 Summer Games were discussed in September. The Pyongyang Joint Declaration between North and South includes an agreement to cooperate on a co-hosting initiative.

The city of Seoul also has plans to potentially build 5G and other high-speed communication networks with the North, in order for opening and closing ceremonies to be aired simultaneously in both cities, according to Yonhap.

If the games do take place in Seoul and Pyongyang in 2032, the event would mark the first time the Olympics take place in two locations. Article 34 of the Olympic Charter does not disallow co-hosting, and “in exceptional circumstances” could allow the competitions to take place “outside the host country.”

A Seoul city official told Yonhap the International Olympic Committee will be reviewing the proposal.

Reporting by Elizabeth Shim

United Press International is an international news agency whose newswires, photo, news film, and audio services provided news material to thousands of newspapers, magazines and radio and television stations for most of the 20th century.

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