South Korean President Jae-in Moon Friday reiterated his support for the proposed joint 2032 Olympic Games bid with North Korea.
A letter of interest was delivered to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in February underlining the commitment of the two nations to work towards hosting the Games and to accelerate other joint sport programs. Political relations on the Korean Peninsula have since cooled.
“When the inter-Korean talks were cut off and relations were difficult, sports opened the door for meetings and dialogue,” Moon said, according to Yonhap.
His remarks were made at the Opening Ceremony of the 100th Korean National Sports Festival at the Jamsil Sports Complex near Seoul, an event that will run until next Thursday.
Moon asked citizens and the community to support the important effort that could help relations between the North and South in a new era.
The 2018 Olympic Winter Games held in PyeongChang, South Korea were credited with opening the door to renewed relations between the two nations that are technically still at war. The North and South marched into the Olympic Stadium at the opening Ceremony under one flag, and a joint Women’s team competed in ice hockey.
Future joint efforts have been planned, including at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games.
South Korean officials last month announced a possible bid to host the 2026 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Gangwon Province, leveraging facilities from the 2018 Games. Venues north of the border could be included in those plans.
On Thursday the IOC named Kristin Kloster Aasen of Norway to chair the new Future Summer Games Commission, a body responsible for investigating possible Olympic bid candidates and engaging them in an ongoing dialogue for a future Games fit.
IOC President Thomas Bach said the work of the Commission will begin at a later date and no Games will be sited until after 2020.
A bid by the state of Queensland in Australia has been most active, with delegates visiting IOC headquarters and Bach last month. Other interest has come from India, Indonesia, China, Russia, Germany and jointly between Belarus and Ukraine.