Seoul is virtually a co-hosting venue of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics slated for next month as all athletes, delegates, officials and tourists from around the world will “stay or pass through” the capital city during the games, the city’s Mayor Park Won-soon said during a press conference for the Seoul Foreign Correspondents’ Club on Tuesday.
“Seoul designated 52 days from Jan. 26 as special welcoming days and released five special support packages during the period (for foreign visitors),” Park told reporters, adding that the city will provide joint support with the government to ensure the success of the Winter Games.
Seoul City Mayor Park Won-soon speaks at a press conference held for Seoul foreign correspondents in central Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
This year’s Winter Olympics have already drawn huge attention from abroad, with issues such as the expected joint entrance of South and North Korean athletes, the two Koreas’ joint team and cultural events (that will be held throughout the period), said Park.
“The 1988 Summer Olympics held in Seoul showcased South Korea’s national strength, but the 2018 PyeongChang Games will be symbolized mostly by peace and prosperity,” Park said. “The Olympics should never be a simple competition among nations, but a festive arena for global citizens to share friendship,” Park added.
The two Koreas are expected to enter the Olympic opening ceremony on Feb. 9 side by side under the Korean Unification Flag in a show of unity, according to the PyeongChang Organizing Committee.
A joint women’s hockey team of the still-warring nations is also expected to compete as “Korea” in their first time doing so at an Olympic event.
During the Olympics, the games will be held across three main venues: PyeongChang, Jeongseon and Gangneung in Gangwon Province, some 200 kilometers east of Seoul.
By Bak Se-hwan (email@example.com