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(LEAD) Seoul mayor reemphasizes need for Olympic co-hosting for peace in Northeast Asia

14:33 December 04, 2019

(ATTN: ADDS info on conference from 5th para)

SEOUL, Dec. 4 (Yonhap) -- Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon on Wednesday reiterated hope that the two Koreas can co-host the 2032 Summer Olympics, asserting that the hosting, if materialized, will serve as a driving force for peace in Northeast Asia.

"The most important task in establishing reconciliation and integration in Northeast Asia is (for South and North Korea) to realize a 'peace community,' and the Seoul-Pyongyang co-hosting of the 2032 Olympics will provide a precious opportunity to accomplish the goal," Park said at the inaugural Seoul Peace Conference at a Seoul hotel.

Park's remarks are in line with the central government's ongoing efforts for the co-hosting, for which South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to push at their third summit in Pyongyang in September last year.

It remains unclear, however, whether the co-hosting will materialize amid frozen relations between the two Koreas.

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon delivers an opening speech during the 2019 Seoul Peace Conference at a Seoul hotel on Dec. 4, 2019. (Yonhap)

Meanwhile, participants in the two-day conference discussed ways to establish universal peace beyond conflicts and confrontations under the theme of "Peace Beyond the Walls."

Among the participants were former President of East Timor Jose Ramos-Horta, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate; Siegfried Hecker, a professor emeritus at Stanford University; Moon Chung-in, special advisor for diplomatic affairs to President Moon Jae-in; and former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.

In a congratulatory speech, South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon urged the United States and North Korea to resume dialogue as early as possible amid mounting verbal tit-for-tat warnings of shows of force against each other.

The municipal government plans to upgrade this year's event to the first Seoul Peace Forum next year and include academic discussions and cultural events.

Participants, including South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (front row, C), pose for a photo at the 2019 Seoul Peace Conference at a Seoul hotel on Dec. 4, 2019. (Yonhap)


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