South Korea's new liberal president has offered to co-host the 2030 World Cup with rival North Korea and other Northeast Asian countries as part of efforts to promote peace in the region, his office said Monday (12 June).
Moon Jae-in made the proposal during a meeting with FIFA President Gianni Infantino at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, Moon's office said in a statement.
"If neighboring Northeast Asian countries including South and North Korea can host the World Cup, I think that would contribute to peace between South and North Korea and in the Northeast Asian region," Moon told Infantino, according to Moon's office. "I would like President Infantino to have interests on this matter."
Infantino was quoted as saying he will sound out Chinese President Xi Jinping about Moon's idea when the two meet later this week.
Since taking office last month, Moon's government has been seeking to expand cross-border exchanges as a way to improve strained ties over the North's nuclear and missile programs. But North Korea has conducted several missile launches in a show of its resolve to continue its weapons development program.
The organizers of the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, hope North Korea will take part in the Winter Games.
The two Koreas have been divided along the world's most heavily fortified border since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. About 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea as deterrence against potential aggression from North Korea.