Seoul Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon told Reuters that together with North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, they would make a bid for the 2036 Summer Games without reviving efforts to host an Olympics.
Amid hopes for better relations with the nuclear-armed North, Seoul sent a bid to North Korea to co-host the 2032 Olympics with Pyongyang. International Olympic Committee (IOC), in 2021, before Brisbane was named the host city.
“I think the 2032 strategy is doomed to fail because of the unpredictable inter-Korean relations,” Oh said in an interview.
The 2032 joint proposal aimed to advance the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics held in the South, where athletes from both Koreas marched under a unified flag at the opening ceremony and played a unified women’s ice hockey team.
IOC President Thomas Bach welcomed the joint proposal as a “historic undertaking” at the time.
But relations have deteriorated again since then, and North Korea tested a record number of ballistic missiles last year.
Pyongyang routinely trades threats with Seoul and its allies in Washington, where officials say North Korea may prepare to resume nuclear weapons tests for the first time since 2017.
Oh said that by then, if relations have improved enough, Seoul will remain flexible to the idea of holding a few events in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) or Pyongyang.
An official from the Korean Sports and Olympic Committee (KSOC) said it has not received official statements of intent regarding the 2036 bid, either from Seoul or the southern city of Busan.
Speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing negotiations, the official added that it would be up to the cities, in consultation with the national government, to decide whether to co-host with Pyongyang.
Among potential competitors for the Games, Qatar is expected to pressurize to host the event after successfully hosting the World Cup last year, while India, Germany and Egypt are also reportedly considering making a bid.
Mexico also threw its hat in the ring for the 2036 Games.