December 20, 2017 10:48
President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday said he is continuing to persuade North Korea to take part in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
"We'll continue to persuade North Korea until then," he said. "Our government is waiting patiently." Moon added South Korea and the U.S. will probably postpone joint military drills until the Olympics are over.
The president was visiting a sports venue in Gangwon Province on the presidential train on the newly-opened KTX that connects Seoul to Gangneung and talking to sports editors of major news outlets.
"Considering its past behavior, we assume North Korea will probably inform us whether it will take part in the Olympics or not at the last minute," Moon said. "South Korea will keep working on North Korea through the IOC to encourage the North to come to Pyeongchang. We'll never give up."
In an interview with NBC, Moon said South Korea is trying to get the U.S. to postpone joint military exercises until after the Olympics as a gesture of peace to North Korea.
"It is possible for South Korea and the U.S. to review the possibility of postponing the drills," Moon said. "I have made such suggestion to the U.S., and the U.S is currently reviewing." He added, "It all this depends on how North Korea behaves."
There have been reports that South Korea and the U.S. will postpone the annual military exercises that are normally held in late February and early March, where they would overlap with the Paralympics, which do not end until March 18.
The Summer Olympics will be held in Tokyo in 2020 and Beijing hosts the 2022 Winter Olympics. "The three Olympics in East Asia means a lot for the two Koreas and the region," he said. "If the three countries work together for the success of their Olympics, I think their cooperation will help ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula as well as East Asia."
The trip was the first time since the presidential train was built in 1979 that reporters have been inside. Also on the train were 20 civilians who won a raffle to have lunch with Moon. They ate some of the delicacies that will be served athletes during the Olympics.
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