Pyongyang - North
and South Korea will bid jointly for the 2032 Olympics, they announced
on Wednesday, in an ambitious plan built on hopes of deepening a diplomatic
thaw catalysed by this year's Winter Games in the South.
The idea, which would require an unprecedented level of cooperation
and mutual trust on the long-divided Korean peninsula, was included in a
joint statement issued after a Pyongyang summit between the North's
leader Kim Jong Un and the South's President Moon Jae-in.
"The South and North agreed to actively participate jointly in
international competitions including the 2020 Summer Olympics and to
cooperate in bidding for the South-North joint hosting of the 2032
Summer Olympics," the statement said.
No other details were given.
The North's decision to participate in the Pyeongchang Winter
Olympics in February triggered a dramatic diplomatic turnaround on the
peninsula this year.
It came after tensions mounted the previous year, with the North
carrying out multiple missile launches and its most powerful nuclear
test to date, and Kim trading personal insults and threats of war with
US President Donald Trump.
The February games saw athletes from the two Koreas march together at
the opening ceremony behind a unification flag showing an undivided
The two countries also formed a unified women's ice hockey side - a
move initially controversial in the South, with critics saying that
Seoul was depriving its own citizens of a chance to play on the Olympic
Kim sent his sister Kim Yo Jong to Pyeongchang as his personal envoy,
and the two leaders have since met three times as part of an ongoing
The two Koreas have continued their sports diplomacy, forming joint
teams for the ITTF world table tennis championships and several events
at the Asian Games in Indonesia, securing one gold, one silver and two
They have also held friendly basketball matches.
Olympics chief Thomas Bach said this month he was open to talks with
the two Koreas about marching and competing together at the 2020 Tokyo
It is a marked contrast to the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics, which
Pyongyang boycotted after it demanded co-hosting rights and negotiations
fell apart over how to share the events.
North Korea's participation
in hosting the Games, which include thousands of athletes from around
the world and an even larger number of spectators, would be a watershed
event requiring a degree of openness and financial muscle now lacking in
the isolated and impoverished country.
It would also force an extraordinary level of cooperation between two
Cold War foes that have no formal avenues for regular contact and are
still technically at war.
The first hint of a possible joint bid came last week when South
Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted the country's sports minister Do
Jong-hwan as saying Seoul planned to propose the idea during this week's
For the 2030 FIFA World Cup, Do said South Korea planned to propose a
co-hosted tournament involving China, Japan and the two Koreas.
"In this way, we could maintain the current momentum for peace and
expand peace on the Korean peninsula to the whole region", Do said.