(ATR) The Olympic Torch could make a trip into North Korea as part of the relay ahead of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games.
The Korea Herald reports that there have been "consistent talks" within IOC meetings to send the torch over the border during the final stages of the relay in South Korea’s portion of Gangwon Province. Historical boundaries of the province straddle the border between the countries.
The odds that the Olympic Torch Relay will include North Korea appear to be long, however. The Herald report says an improvement in diplomatic relations between the two Koreas is a required first step to any potential agreement.
North Korea’s recent testing of long-range ballistic missiles, which led the United Nations Security Council to unanimously adopt new economic sanctions against Pyongyang last weekend, is the latest obstacle to any potential diplomatic thaw.
South Korean President Jae In Moon has been pushing for improving relations on the peninsula through sports exchanges since being sworn in on May 10.
Moon most recently invited North Korea to participate in the Games in a speech on July 24. The South Korean Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism reiterated on Monday that the administration is not giving up on efforts to get North Korean athletes to take part come February.
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 of the sensitive nature of the Korean Peninsula.
Written by Gerard Farek
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