Last Minute Government Support Arrives for PyeongChang

(ATR) 200 days until the 2018 Olympics brings renewed government investment from President Jae In Moon.

(ATR) South Korean President Jae In Moon says greater governmental cooperation is coming for the last 200 days before PyeongChang 2018.

Moon gave a speech today as an honorary ambassador for PyeongChang 2018 in which he said the Games could help "our nation to heal and regain hope". His speech marked the 200 days to go milestone for the Games, and came days after the Korean National Assembly approved $50 million in support.

"For the government, this will be the first major international event since we took office. I believe the government has an obligation to make the Games a success," Moon said in his speech.

"Up until now, the government left this job to the Organizing Committee and Gangwon Province. Now with 200 days left, the central government will join forces to make the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games a complete success."

Moon’s comments of support reference the, at times, lack of enthusiasm shown by the Guen Hye Park administration to the Olympics. President Park, and confidant Soon Sil Choi, are on trial in South Korea for running an influence peddling scheme to personally enrich themselves from government contracts.

Reportedly included in that scandal were construction contracts for PyeongChang 2018. PyeongChang 2018 President Hee Beom Lee has said that all contracts were renegotiated after he took over as organizing committee president in 2016.

"Gangwon residents were concerned as the scandal dealt a blow to the Olympics preparation process," Moon said. "If we achieve a successful event, it will heal the people and make them have pride and hope in Korea again."

Continuinghis administration’s sports diplomacy ambitions, Moon once again invited North Korea to participate in the Games. Currently the only athletes still eligible to qualify from North Korea are a pair of figure skaters. IOC President Thomas Bach has said he is "interested" in seeing North Korea participate in PyeongChang, but framed his comments diplomatically because ofthe sensitive nature of the Korean Peninsula.

"We've opened the door wide…and now all that is left is North Korea's decision," Moon said. "I again urge North Korea to make a decision. We'll neither hastily expect a positive response, nor be pessimistic about negative ones. We'll just keep the doors open until the very last moment."

Written by Aaron Bauer

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