North Korea doubts over South's Olympic invite

Posted June 26, 2017

He said he plans to discuss the idea with Mr Jang Woong, the North's delegate to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and IOC president Thomas Bach when they visit Seoul later this month for the close of an international taekwondo competition.

Do Jong-hwan, who was appointed minister of culture, sports and tourism last week, plans to discuss the plan with Chang Ung, North Korea's International Olympic Committee representative, at the World Taekwondo Championships in Muju in South Korea's North Jeolla Province. "To be able to help promote the Games across Korea and to all my fans around the world makes me very proud and I am looking forward to being part of this huge celebration of sports and culture in my country".

In comments reported by the Korea Herald, Do suggested the North and South could enter one women's ice hockey team, helping to make Pyeongchang a "peace Olympics".

His appointment is aimed at drumming up public support for PyeongChang Olympics, which will be held from February 8-25, 2018 in PyeongChang in Gangwon Province, South Korea.

With the new role, Taeyang will be in charge of performing the Olympic Winter Games' song, and promoting the global multi-sport event.

The two countries have co-hosted several sporting exchanges this year, including a women's soccer tournament in Pyongyang and a women's hockey competition in South Korea.

The news comes amid rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, following the North Korean regime's missile tests, as well as the death of Otto Warmbier, a U.S. student who suffered severe neurological trauma while serving part of a 15-year sentence for stealing a political banner. But talks broke down and the North boycotted the Games. Their women's football teams played each other in Pyongyang in April, and their women's hockey teams competed in South Korea.

Moon made the proposal at an opening ceremony for the World Taekwondo Championships held on Saturday. The dialogue with North Korea is a part of newly elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in's policy, aimed at reconciliation on the Korean peninsula.

Do plans to discuss the matter with Jang and IOC President Thomas Bach, both of whom are scheduled to visit South Korea later this month to attend the closing ceremony of an worldwide Taekwondo competition.