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Asian editorial excerpts.

TOKYO, July 6 Kyodo

Selected editorial excerpts from the Asia-Pacific press:

A FAILED OLYMPIC BID (The Korea Herald, Seoul)

PyeongChang, a small town in the mountainous Gangwon Province, has failed to win the privilege of hosting the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. But the great enthusiasm of its residents to offer their hometown for the event should be long remembered as an example of community-wide unity.

The central government also gave them unreserved support. President Roh Moo-hyun, along with a high-powered Korean delegation, flew into Guatemala City on Sunday to engage in personal lobbying with IOC members. The whole nation is disappointed, but PyeongChang's Olympic bid was one precious factor that bound together a country which is otherwise seriously split in an election year.

It was PyeongChang's second loss after its unsuccessful bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics four years ago, conceding to Vancouver, Canada, by just three votes. This year, PyeongChang and Korea were better prepared. The IOC's technical assessment team had given PyeongChang a higher score than its rivals Sochi, Russia, and Salzburg, Austria.

Russia has promised to invest $12 billion in the construction of games sites and the preparation of accommodation and transportation facilities. The presence of President Vladimir Putin at the venue of the IOC meeting right from his summit with President Bush in Kennebunkport, Maine, might have boosted Sochi's bid.

The 2014 Games would have been Korea's first chance to host the Winter Olympics and an opportunity to bring them back to Asia, where winter sports are rapidly gaining popularity, 16 years after the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan.

Korea had argued that holding the Games in PyeongChang, which is close to the border with North Korea, would help advance peace on the Korean Peninsula, and President Roh had promised that the South and North would field a joint team. It is to be appreciated that North Korean IOC member Chang Ung recognizably tried to help PyeongChang's bid.

It is up to the people of PyeongChang and Gangwon Province whether they will make a third bid for the Winter Olympic Games. But, putting their great disappointment behind, they need to continue in their endeavors to make the place a center of tourism and winter sports in Asia. At the very least, the Olympic bid has given PyeongChang a great amount of international publicity.

(July 6)
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Publication:Asian Political News
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jul 9, 2007
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