Korean 2032 Bid Based on 'Peaceful Coexistence'

(ATR) South Korea's ambassador to the United States discusses the 2032 Olympic bid with Around the Rings.

(ATR) The joint bid for the 2032 Summer Olympics is just one step in reaching the goal of "peaceful coexistence" on the Korean Peninsula, says South Korea’s ambassador to the United States.

Cho Yoon-Je spoke to Around the Rings about the goal of the 2032 Olympics in Atlanta at a World Affairs Council event with his counterpart Harry Harris, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea.

Both Cho and Harris are currently on a tour of the U.S. to promote deeper economic ties, showcasing the multifaceted aspects of the South Korea-United States alliance. The trip is sponsored by the Korea Economic Institute.

North and South Korea have been collaborating on a joint summer Olympics bid since the end of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. There North Korea attended an Olympics on South Korean soil for the first time, which set off a flurry of diplomatic engagements.

The IOC has positioned itself in the center of the dialogue, offering to help continue sports diplomacy following the 2018 Games. This included joint Korean teams at the 2018 Asian Games and 2019 World Handball Championships. The IOC is currently exploring with the National Olympic Committees from North and South Korea about potential joint teams at Tokyo 2020 and how qualification would work.

South Korea selected Seoul as its representative city for the joint bid, over the city of Busan. North Korea has not selected its host city, though it is expected to choose its capital Pyongyang.

The 2032 Summer Olympic bid race could be a crowded field with Australia, Germany, Indonesia, and India already expressing interest in the event, along with the Korean bid.

"Korea was one nation until we were occupied by Japan more than 13 centuries ago," Cho said to a question posed by ATR. "We used the same language, we shared history, and we shared a culture and tradition and full taste of cuisine and everything. So it is natural for Korean people to think about the reunions and unification of Korean Peninsula even though it may not take place quickly.

"[South Korea’s] strategy towards [North Korea] is not immediate reunification but peaceful coexistence and gradually releasing the disparity in economic situation and some institutions, too. So in that course we agreed to have joint hosting of 2032."

Cho said that for Koreans any idea of a 10-year project is "very long," and that it is currently impossible to judge what the climate will be on the Korean Peninsula. He added that, the Moon Jae-In administration continues to work towards the goal of coexistence so if the Olympics are held in both countries "it is not just a dream but the reality".

Ambassador Harris highlighted how the last 16 months have allowed for a unique period of dialogue between the United States, South Korea, and North Korea.

"[Dialogue] started off with the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in beginning of 2018, and we had three summits between President Moon-Jae In and Kim Jong Un and of course two summits, the first ever, between the sitting U.S. President [Donald Trump] and the sitting President of North Korea," Harris said.

"In that time there have been no missile tests and no nuclear tests. It has been an extraordinary 16 months or so since the beginning of 2018."

​ Written by Aaron Bauer

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