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S. Korea vows to make every effort for N. Korea's participation in PyeongChang Olympics

2017/09/29 22:46

BERLIN, Sept. 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will make every effort to ensure that North Korea can participate in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, a senior official said Friday, despite tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung said in a speech in a forum that South Korea will dispel international concerns about North Korea's possible provocations and make the PyeongChang Winter Olympics a peaceful Olympics.

His comments are the latest in a series of appeals to North Korea to send its athletes to the Olympics to be held in South Korea's eastern alpine city of PyeongChang in February.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has extended an invitation to North Korea to take part in the Winter Olympic Games. North Korea has yet to make a formal response to South Korea.

Chang Ung, North Korea's sole member of the International Olympic Committee, said in an interview with Olympic Channel earlier this month that politics and the Olympics are separate things and North Korea could have competitors at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics if its athletes qualify.

"I am quite sure politics is one thing and the Olympics is another thing. So I don't see any big problem for the PyeongChang Olympic Games," Chang said in the interview held on the sidelines of an IOC meeting in Lima.

South Korea hopes that North Korea's participation could help ease tensions that have spiked over Pyongyang's sixth and most powerful nuclear detonation and a series of ballistic missile tests. A recent a war of words between the leaders of North Korea and the United States has further aggravated tensions.

The two Koreas fielded joint teams at the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships and the 1991 FIFA World Youth Championship.

Athletes from the rival Koreas also marched under a unified Korean flag at the opening ceremonies of the Olympics and Asian Games several times, including at the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics and the 2002 Busan Asian Games.