North and South Korea Will Meet This Month To Discuss Proposed 2032 Olympic Bid

Officials from North and South Korea will meet late in October to further discuss plans to mount a bid for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Unified Korean team enters the Olympic Stadium at PyeongChang 2018 (PyeongChang 2018 Photo)

The ambitious plan to bring the Games to venues in both Capitals Pyongyang and Seoul was first tabled at a September summit between the two nations on the Korean peninsula, and further discussions were held earlier this week.

A joint statement released Monday said “The South and North agreed to … discuss the issue of South-North joint hosting of the 2032 Summer Olympics around the end of the month at the joint liaison office.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will elect a 2032 host city in 2025, giving the two Koreas plenty of time to overcome the significant hurdles that the joint bid will face.

Mounting a bid would require an unprecedented level of cooperation and trust between the two nations that have technically been at war since a cease fire ended armed conflict in 1953.  Joint bids between any two nations are forbidden by the Olympic Charter, but the IOC could change that as the organization trends toward more sustainable hosting plans.

A Games would also force Pyongyang to open its doors to reporting from the international media, and to welcome athletes and officials without restrictions.  Human rights issues will also be a concern.

IOC President Thomas Bach said last month that he would support a joint-Korean bid.

The potential joint bid underlines recently growing cooperation between the two rival nations on the playing field.  Both Korea’s fielded a unified ice hockey team at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics held in the South and joined forces at the Asian Games in Indonesia this year.

Along with the Olympic bid talks, officials will also discuss possible joint teams at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

North and South Korea To Launch Joint Bid To Host 2032 Olympic Games

Seoul hosted South Korea’s first Games in 1988, an event that was considered transformational for the nation but also widened rifts between the North and South.

Pyongyang insisted that North Korea stage some of the events held at the Games, and asked to host its own opening and closing ceremonies.  When the Seoul organizing committee rejected the request, the North boycotted the Games.

A Korean bid will join the growing field of cities interested in hosting the the 2032 Games.

Indonesian officials announced last month that they’ll begin to prepare Jakarta for a 2032 bid after staging a successful Asian Games this year.

Shanghai’s deputy director Luo Wenhua announced that the Chinese city could consider a 2032 bid while it sets a course to become a “globally famous” sport city.

Other interest in bidding for the 2032 Games has come from Queensland in Australia, India, Germany, Russia and Egypt.  The IOC indicated earlier this year that it has had discussions with at least one interested city and that the “discussion phase” of the cycle has begun.

Paris will stage the 2024 Olympics with Los Angeles set to host in 2028.

About Robert Livingstone

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.