The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current, August 04, 2014, Page Page 5, Image 5

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August 4, 2014
Pyeongchang’s 2018
Olympic committee faced audit
By Jung-yoon Choi
The Associated Press
FOREIGNERS WELCOME. Young North Korean girls hold up
signboards with the names of participating countries during an opening
ceremony at the Songdowon International Children’s Camp, in Wonsan,
North Korea. The camp, which has been operating for nearly 30 years,
was originally intended mainly to deepen relations with friendly countries
in the Communist or non-aligned world. But officials say they are willing
to accept youth from anywhere — even the United States. (AP Photo/
Wong Maye-E)
North Korea opens
summer camp for kids
By Eric Talmadge
The Associated Press
ONSAN, North Korea — Summer camp in
North Korea? It’s got one — and it’s got
everything from giant water slides and a
private beach to video games and volleyball courts. Oh,
and, of course, a big bronze statue of the late leaders Kim
Il Sung and Kim Jong Il surrounded by adoring children.
After some on-the-spot guidance from North Korea’s
new leader, Kim Jong Un, and a major facelift, the
Songdowon International Children’s Camp reopened last
month for this year’s flock of foreign campers — more than
300 young children and teenagers from Russia, China,
Vietnam, Ireland, and Tanzania.
The campers spend eight days cooking, swimming,
boating, and mingling with their North Korean peers.
Though heavily subsidized by the government, the camp
— plus a tour of Pyongyang — costs about $270 per foreign
The camp, which has been operating for nearly 30 years,
was originally intended mainly to deepen relations with
friendly countries in the Communist or non-aligned
world. But officials say they are willing to accept youth
from anywhere — even the United States.
The camp gives the participants an opportunity to see a
country that remains a mystery to most outsiders, and
North Korea a chance to show off the best it can offer —
sleeping in air-conditioned rooms with televisions and
video games is a luxury most North Korean children can’t
normally experience.
Still, teenagers have their own priorities.
“At the end there is a talent show,” said 19-year-old
Linus Jamal Faustin, who came with a group of 16 from
Tanzania’s Laureate International School in Dar es
Salaam. “We are ready to show them all how to dance.”
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UNDER INVESTIGATION. Kim Jin-sun has resigned as president
of the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Kim resigned saying new leadership is needed to complete preparations
for the games. A former provincial governor, he was elected president of
the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee in late 2011 after Pyeongchang
won the right to host the Winter Olympics for the first time in South Korea.
In this February 22, 2014 file photo, Kim speaks at a press conference
during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Bernat
Armangue, File)
committee. The Hanjin Group chairman was
unanimously elected in a meeting of 94 committee officials
and will serve out the remainder of Kim’s scheduled term,
which was due to expire in October next year.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials who
visited Pyeongchang recently expressed no major
concerns about preparations for 2018.
IOC president Thomas Bach visited Pyeongchang in
early July and said he remains confident the Koreans can
organize “excellent” games.
Following Kim’s resignation, the IOC said in a
statement that its latest project review at the end of June
had provided organizers with “a clear roadmap of
activities until the end of the year.”
“We have full confidence that these activities will be
delivered by the POCOG team in a timely manner and
using their existing processes,” the IOC said. “We
continue to work closely with them on their preparations
for the games.”
Associated Press writer Hyung-jin Kim contributed to this report.
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EOUL, South Korea — The organizing committee
for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang has
been under investigation over its preparations for
the games, according to South Korean officials.
The confirmation by the Seoul-based Board of Audit and
Inspection came a day after the resignation of organizing
committee chief Kim Jin-sun.
Kim stepped down saying new leadership is needed.
South Korean media reported he was fired by the
government over poor preparations for the games, citing
delays in construction of the speedskating venue and lack
of progress in signing major sponsorship deals.
Audit officials said the week-long inspection of the
committee looked at financing and management, but
would not say whether the probe specifically targeted
reported construction delays and sponsorship problems.
The results of the investigation, which began in late
May and ended on July 11, were expected in three months,
according to the audit agency.
Officials in the eastern Gangwon province, which
includes Pyeongchang, confirmed the construction of a
speedskating venue has been delayed due to a debate over
how to use it after the Olympics. They said construction of
other sports venues began earlier this year as previously
The Gangwon officials, who spoke on condition of
anonymity because they are not authorized to give their
names under department rules, said the construction
delay should have nothing to do with Kim’s resignation
because building issues are overseen by provincial
officials, not by the organizing committee.
Kim, the former governor of Gangwon province, led the
South Korean town’s two unsuccessful bids for the 2010
and 2014 Olympics. In 2010, he stepped down as governor
and had since served as an ambassador to Pyeongchang’s
bid committee for the 2018 games.
Cho Yang-ho, the South Korean business tycoon who
led Pyeongchang’s successful bid to host the 2018 Winter
Olympics, will take charge of the local organizing
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