Posted November. 16, 2017 07:07,
Updated November. 16, 2017 08:06
The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Wednesday that citizens who make good suggestions for the successful hosting of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games will be offered an opportunity to have lunch with President Moon Jae-in and receive a popular but rare presidential souvenir wrist watch. Cheong Wa Dae made the announcement in a post on its Facebook page introducing the “Hello PyeongChang” website, which was opened jointly by the Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Gangwon Province to promote the winter sports event.
It is a welcome development that President Moon has plunged into the publicity efforts for the Winter Olympics, although it is a little belated, with less than three months left before the opening ceremony. It is even more regretful because President Moon promoted the PyeongChang Winter Olympics during his overseas trips. He has joined the domestic promotion efforts probably because the Olympic boom at home is weaker than expected. In fact, less than 40 percent of the tickets have been sold so far. If the trend continues, half-empty Olympic events will be broadcast live throughout the world, causing national disgrace.
In the past, businesses and local government organizations used to mass purchase tickets for their employees or to promote their businesses. In the wake of the previous administration’s Choi Sun-sil scandal involving the PyeongChang Olympics, local corporations are reluctant to provide legitimate support for the event. However, the PyeongChang Olympics is not a negative legacy from the ousted previous administration and this administration is also responsible for the success of the event. Perhaps, the Winter Olympics could be the biggest and most important international event taking place in Korea during President Moon’s single five-year term. Nothing should discourage the government from calling for businesses’ support as long as the requests remain within the legal boundaries. The government will also be able to draw public support during the process.
South Korea won the right to host the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games at its third attempt. The event has significant meaning both domestically and internationally. It is the first of the Asian Olympic series that will lead to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping have every reason to attend the PyeongChang opening ceremony. Through diplomatic channels, Seoul should emphasize that Beijing’s and Tokyo’s interest in the PyeongChang event will return to them as Seoul’s cooperation. The unity shown by the three Northeast Asian countries through the PyeongChang games could become an ideal opportunity to unite the ideologically divided nation. If President Moon, who has become the promotional ambassador for the PyeongChang Olympics, appeals for national unity around the event, the South Korean people will also respond with “Passion. Connected.”