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South Korean govt. official says co-hosting of Asian Winter Games with North Korea possible


PyeongChang (South Korea) –   The governor of Gangwon Province in South Korea, where PyeongChang is located, on Saturday said he was considering a bid to co-host the 2021 Asian Winter Games (AWG) with North Korea.

“We will start the process (for a feasibility review) soon after the PyeongChang Winter Games,” Gov. Choi Moon-soon said at a press conference in Gangneung, a sub-host city of the PyeongChang Winter Games.

The governor said the plan would enable “a better utilisation of the infrastructure of PyeongChang after the Games and continued inter-Korean exchanges and reconciliation through sports.”

As for the Games’ venues, Choi said he was considering the PyeongChang Olympics facilities and the Masikryong Ski Resort on the outskirts of the eastern city of Wonsan in North Korea.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has been aspiring to develop Wonsan as a lavish sports tourism attraction.

The two Koreas engaged in a flurry of sports diplomacy which led to North Korea’s participation in the first Winter Games in the South.

The communist country sent 22 athletes and hundreds of others to PyeongChang.

Earlier this month, before the opening of the Games, South Korean and North Korean skiers held joint training at the Masikryong resort.

“We see that the mood is ripe enough for the two Koreas to pursue a joint bid to host a winter sports event.

“This is more so that the foundation for inter-Korean exchanges has been laid by the PyeongChang Games, and the resolve of the current administration and the international community to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula has become clear,” he said.

AWG is an international multi-sport event held every four years for members of the Olympic Council of Asia and features winter competitions.

Its eighth edition was held in Sapporo, Japan, in February last year.

The host of the 2021 event will be decided at the 2018 Asian Summer Games hosted by the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang in August.(Yonhap/NAN)

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