2018 Winter Olympics: Can North Korea and South Korea Co-Host the Games?

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2018 Winter Olympics: Can North Korea and South Korea Co-Host the Games?
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Pyeongchang will host the Winter Olympic Games in 2018, and it looks like North Korea is trying to hop on the international gravy train too. North Korea would like to assist the Republic of South Korea with their Olympiad responsibilities, despite the two neighboring countries notorious history of staunch political differences.

It would be a captivating and politically groundbreaking story to have the two countries back in unison through sport. Unity is the whole theme of the Olympics, after-all, and the games would inherently serve their purpose by bringing the two rival nations back together. An Olympic partnership could be the first step into improved political negotiations between the Koreas.

Though the countries infamously divided after World War II and remain split to this day, they have participated as a unified team in the Olympics before. The Koreans competed and trained together for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, as well as the 2004 Games in Athens. They split for the 2008 Beijing Games and did not compete together in London.

It appears that the two nations took another step in the wrong direction during the North Korean’s womens soccer match against Columbia in London when the North Koreans refused to take the field after they were mistakenly identified with the South Korean flag. London officials admitted to making a human error and the North Koreans went on to play the match, but it can’t be a positive sign for future negotiations for the two countries.

North Korea would be an ideal venue for some of the 2018 events, with their Taebaek Mountain Range one of the most illustrious and scenic in the world. North Korea doesn’t share much about their nation with the outside world, and it would be intriguing for the planet to finally get a first-hand glimpse of their culture.

The International Olympic Committee would need to approve before the countries went forward in co-hosting the event, but with reports that the IOC has already hinted suggestion of the idea, it appears that it’s all up to whether or not the Koreas can cohere with each other. They have ample time to make decisions, and it’ll be interesting to see what happens from here.

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