"Though we are now in a situation where it is somewhat awkward to talk about inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation, it is crucial for us to maintain the atmosphere of reconciliation through sports activities … I make a proposal again for the North's participation, and to achieve it, our government will strive harder," Lee said, as quoted by Yonhap news agency.
In June, South Korean President Moon Jae-in also invited North Korea to take part in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Pyeongchang 2018 will be the first Winter Olympic Games hosted by South Korea. The Games will be held on February 9-25, 2018.
South and North Korea still do not have any peace treaty signed after the Korean War of 1950-1953. Tensions between the two countries have risen in recent years amid Pyongyang's nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches, conducted in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. The dialogue with North Korea is a part of newly elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in's policy, aimed at reconciliation on the Korean peninsula.