SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach arrived in South Korea on Thursday for a two-day visit to inspect preparations for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Bach opened his visit by attending a dinner reception for a trilateral sports minsters’ meeting between South Korea, Japan and China at a Pyeongchang convention center, but he’s not expected to participate in discussions that will continue into Friday, according to an official from South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism who didn’t want to be named, citing office rules.
The ministry said the talks are aimed at exploring cooperation between the countries that will host the next three Olympics. Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics in 2020 and Beijing will host the Winter Olympics in 2022.
Bach will visit Olympic facilities, including new snow and ice venues that are under construction, and meet with organizers there before leaving the country on Friday afternoon, according to Pyeongchang’s organizing committee. He will be joined by other senior IOC officials, including Gunilla Lindberg, head of the IOC’s coordination commission for Pyeongchang, and Christophe Dubi, the IOC’s executive director.
Pyeongchang organizers have struggled with construction delays, local conflicts over venue constructions and difficulties attracting domestic sponsorships, but optimism over preparations has increased after the successful hosting of test events at Olympic venues earlier this year.