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South Korea's Pyeongchang seeks North's support for bid

Written by: Staff
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SEOUL, Nov 22 (Reuters) A top official from the South Korean city campaigning to host the 2014 Winter Olympics went to North Korea today to discuss ways the communist state could support the bid, officials said.

Kim Jin-sun, executive president of the 2014 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games Bid Committee, will be in North Korea until Saturday, they said.

''It is hoped that a successful bid for the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games could help bring people together and ease tension on the Korean peninsula,'' the bid committee said in a statement.

Bid officials have said they do not plan to include North Korea in hosting any of the events for the Games but they expect that by 2014 the two Koreas will be competing as a unified team.

The province that includes Pyeongchang -- a rustic mountain village about 200 km (120 miles) east of Seoul -- shares a long border with North Korea.

Last week, North Korea said it was willing to return to talks with the South on forming a joint Olympic team for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Pyongyang withdrew from the talks in anger after Seoul cut off regular food aid to its impoverished neighbour in response to the North's defiant nuclear missile test in July.

North and South Korea have marched together at past Olympics, including this year's Winter Games in Turin, but competed as separate teams.

Still technically at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended without a peace treaty, North and South Korea first considered competing as a joint team at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, but years of acrimony and military tensions have prevented the idea from coming to pass.

REUTERS DH VV0934

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