South Korean organisers of the 2018 Winter Olympics on Wednesday rejected the idea of sharing the skiing events with North Korea as unrealistic.
The organising committee in Pyeongchang, the host city 180 kilometres east of Seoul, said in a statement that holding skiing events on both sides of the border would be unrealistic for legal and logistical reasons.
The statement came a day after North Korea’s International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Chang Ung suggested that the North’s Masik ski resort could host some Olympic events.
“When construction is complete, it can be used in an international event and possibly in the Olympic Games,” he said in an interview with US-funded Voice of America.
But he admitted that co-hosting was a complicated matter requiring discussions with the IOC and the International Ski Federation.
The Masik resort now under construction is one of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s pet projects.
Kim wanted the facility — due to feature 110 kilometres (70 miles) of ski runs, a hotel, heliport and cable cars — completed by the end of this year.
Pyeongchang said that co-hosting skiing events with North Korea would violate IOC regulations.
The Olympic Games must also provide technical and operational support to help players compete in an “optimal environment”, it said.
“It would be difficult to satisfy that by holding some events in the Masik ski resort, which is more than 300 kilometres away from Pyeongchang,” its statement said.
IOC president Jacques Rogge had previously ruled out the idea of North Korea co-hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics.
“The IOC awards the Games to one city in one country,” Rogge said in 2011 at a time when relations between the two Koreas had worsened sharply.
“As far as spreading venues between the two countries, that’s something we do not consider under the current Olympic Charter.”