Gangwon chief eyes co-hosting of Asian Winter Games with N.Korea

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PyeongChang (South Korea), Feb 17 (IANS) The governor of Gangwon Province, where PyeongChang is located, said on Saturday that he is 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,” governor 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 utilization 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 is considering the PyeongChang Olympics facilities and the Masikryong Ski Resort on the outskirts of the eastern city of Wonsan in North Korea, which the North’s leader Kim Jong-un aspires to develop as a lavish sports tourism attraction, reports Yonhap news agency.

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The two Koreas engaged in a flurry of sports diplomacy that lead 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, as 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.

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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.

–IANS

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