Pyeongchang organizers at 70 percent of sponsorship target
JEONGSEON, South Korea (AP) South Korean organizers of the 2018 Winter Olympics have reached 70 percent of their target of 870 billion won ($728 million) in domestic sponsorships.
''A few (deals) are not finalized but I have full confidence that we can meet the target,'' Pyeongchang organizing committee head Cho Yang-ho said Friday.
''If we don't need it we don't have to reach the target. If we exceed it we can leave a legacy fund,'' Cho said, adding that discussions are ongoing with 20 companies.
The list of Tier 1 partners currently includes KT (Korea Telecom), Youngone Outdoor (The North Face), Korean Air, Samsung electronics, Hyundai-Kia Motors and SK Group.
There are 13 more sponsors in Tier 2 and 3.
The projected budget for infrastructure is $11 billion, including a new high-speed railway connection from Incheon international airport. The games operating budget is projected at $1.9 billion.
Cho declined to offer details on a security budget for the games, saying there are no issues with the government amid concerns over North Korea's plans to fire a long-range rocket this month.
''When we need it they give us the budget,'' Cho said.
South Korea and Japan vowed to shoot down any debris that falls on their territories from a North Korea rocket, with Seoul saying Thursday that it has detected launch preparations by Pyongyang.
''Terrorism is worldwide so we are not immune,'' Cho told The Associated Press. ''We are very concerned about the full alert but we don't worry about North Korea. We worry about other potential terrorism. But we are fully aware with the government officials and quietly watching it very carefully.''
While South Korea previously rejected Pyongyang's suggestion that a North Korean ski resort could be used for the games, North Korea won't be excluded from sending athletes.
''China is coming so maybe North Korea wants to come,'' Cho said. ''In Olympics everyone is invited. (Even) if we don't want them we have no right to do it.''
Pyeongchang is located in Gangwon province, the only Korean province divided by the heavily fortified inter-Korean border.
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