South Korea’s expresses goodwill and hopes for good neighborly relations with North Korea.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, has called on North Korea to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, saying that the participation of athletes on the other side of the border could help pave the way for peace.
“North Korea’s only move towards Peyongjang will be great progress towards peace, which will never be able to get through hundreds of missiles,” Moon said in a speech at the event hosted by the National Council for the Unification.
North Korea’s provocations are the biggest threat to the peninsula, he said, adding that “our destination is clear peace and prosperity.”
Two North Korean leaders in the final last month became the first athletes from the isolated nation to qualify for the games that begin on February 9. North Korea’s rocket concerns and nuclear tests have damaged ticket sales, with many places lying about 90 kilometers (60 miles) from the heavily-fortified border.
In July, the moon said it would seek co-operation from Chinese President Xi Jinping to urge North Korea to participate in the Olympic Games. The two countries agreed Tuesday to overcome a one-year dispute over Seoul’s decision to deploy the US missile shield, paving the way for closer ties between the two largest economies in Asia.
Tension over the missile shield has prompted Beijing to retaliate economically, stop the sale of packages, and hamper the operations of South Korean companies. South Korean tour operators hope China will soon abolish the tourism ban, according to Jeon Hyo-sik, executive director of the Korean Tourism Organization in Wonju.
“It usually takes one or two months for travel agencies to gather tourists after such curbs are lifted, and winter is a low tourist season in Korea,” Jéon said on Tuesday. “We hope Chinese tourism can recover before the Beijing Olympics in February.”