North Korea Wants to Co-Host 2018 Winter Olympics

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Rogan Ward / Reuters

South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak (C) and members of the Pyeongchang 2018 bid committee react after the announcement of the winning city bid for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games during the 123rd IOC session in Durban July 6, 2011.

Put aside the fact that North Korea and South Korea struggle to even field a unified Olympic team. Let’s jump right to co-hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics, awarded last week to Pyeongchang, South Korea.

A Korean news report says that North Korean International Olympic Committee member Chang Ung hopes the Koreas can co-host the Pyeongchang Olympics. With the new host city located in northeast South Korea (east of Seoul), only that pesky demilitarized zone really separates the countries. Well, that and gulfs of political differences.

But don’t think South Korea has jumped to denounce the idea, although there’s no secret that toning down those vast political and military differences must precede any notion of co-hosting the 2018 Olympics.

(VIDEO: Party in Pyeongchang)

South Korea’s ruling and opposition parties have agreed to again attempt to field a unified team with North Korea and train players together. The teams unified in Sydney in 2000 and in Athens in 2004, but they split up for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and remain apart. The leader of the opposition party has even said he would look into ways to co-host the event, using it as “a turning point in the history of the divided Korean peninsula.”

Any plan to co-host needs International Olympic Committee approval, but IOC members have already expressed hope that the two countries can come together for the event. Let’s hope they can come together for far more than just the Olympics.

MORE: How is the Olympic Host City Chosen?

Tim Newcomb is a contributor for TIME. Find him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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