SEOUL-- South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday renewed his country's invitation for North Korea to the Winter Olympic Games to be held here early next year, saying the country will keep the doors open until the very last minute.
The remarks came at an event aimed at promoting the Winter Olympics to be held in the country's eastern PyeongChang county 200 days from Monday.
"I again urge North Korea's decision. We will not rush nor be pessimistic, but will keep the doors open until the very last moment," the president said.
Moon's renewed invitation for North Korea came exactly one month after his initial offer to form a single, unified team with the communist North in the upcoming Olympic Games.
Pyongyang has more or less remained silent over Moon's offer while it also continues to remain mum on Seoul's proposal to hold military and Red Cross dialogue.
The South Korean president insisted all that was left for North Korea's participation in the PyeongChang event was its own decision.
"The International Olympic Committee too has opened the doors for North Korea's participation, and now all that is left is North Korea's decision," he said, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.
At Monday's event, the South Korean president was also named an honorary ambassador for the PyeongChang games.
"For the government, it will be the first major international event since its launch. And therefore, I believe the government too has an obligation to make it a success," Moon was quoted as saying.
"Up until now, the government has left the job to the organizing committee and Gangwon Province, but with 200 days left now, I promise the central government to join its forces to make PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games a complete success without fail," he said, according to the pool reports.
The president noted the upcoming games will likely mark a turnaround for the quadrennial event itself as it will be an environmentally friendly, advanced and cultural event.
"If we were to add another description, I would like to call it a healing event. Our people have been through a long period of turbulence caused by political issues, including the influence-peddling scandal. I wish we will offer a chance for the people and our nation to heal and again have hope by successfully hosting the Winter Olympic Games," Moon said.
Monday's event involved some 300 officials from the government, including the local organizing committee, and athletes, including former Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na, who is also an honorary ambassador for the PyeongChang Olympics.
Source: Yonhap News Agency