Seoul has taken a major initiative to change the perception people have of the Korean peninsula. South Korea wants the two Koreas to bid jointly for hosting the 2032 olympic games. Representatives from both sides will meet in Lausanne, Switzerland and submit their plans to the International Olympic Committee. South Korea has experience of hosting an event of such magnitude. They will choose Seoul while North Korea will have to identify their city which could be its capital Pyongyang that has a comparatively good infrastructure.

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The Guardian reports that South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, has always wanted to break down the barriers and reunify the two Koreas. They conducted the 2018 Winter Olympics successfully and marched under a single flag. That set the ball rolling and it is gathering momentum. There are plans on the anvil of sending combined teams to participate in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo with possibilities of co-hosting the 2032 Olympic Games.

Sports diplomacy for peace in the Korean peninsula

The interest shown by Kim Jong-un to send North Korean athletes to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang was a pointer about his willingness to reunify.

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That is borne out by his subsequent meetings with Moon Jae-in, president of the South and the proposal of jointly hosting the 2032 Olympics. Sports diplomacy could help bring stability to the Korean peninsula. As Seoul’s mayor Park Won-soon said, the 2032 summer Olympics could “become something more than a sports festival – an opportunity to change the fate of the Korean peninsula.”

The Guardian goes on to add that planning is in the initial stages and it will depend on the outcome of the second summit between Kim Jong-un, and Donald Trump scheduled at the end of the month in Hanoi.

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This is because of existing sanctions on the hermit kingdom that will be a hurdle for cross-border cooperation to build the necessary infrastructure for the 2032 Olympic Games.

Cross-border reconciliation gathering pace

According to Channel News Asia, the two Koreas decided to participate jointly in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games after a series of talks on reunification efforts gathered pace. Now, they want to co-host the 2032 summer Olympics, which is a positive indication for peace to return to the Korean peninsula.

Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea met President Moon Jae-in of South Korea three times since the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Kim also met US President Donald Trump at a summit in Singapore in June and a second summit is on the cards. However, if sanctions remain, it will be difficult for the cohosts to organize a major event like the Olympics. That can happen only when Pyongyang takes firmer steps toward denuclearization so that sanctions do not interfere.

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The ball is in the court of North Korea.

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