For the first time in over two years of political radio silence, North and South Korea have been meeting face to face once again. The talk happens one month prior to the Winter Olympics held in Pyeongchang, South Korea regarding the situation and unity of the two countries.
Both nations have agreed to have their competitors walk out in the commencement ceremony under the one uniting flag, which comes as a huge relief for South Korea and many other nations.
The last time they marched under the same flag was at the 2006 Winter Olympics held in Turin, Italy. The flag pictures a baby blue undivided Korean peninsula amongst a white back drop.
Korea is also planning on bringing a combined women’s ice-hockey team. This is the first time that the countries have had a combined team since 1991, which was a youth soccer team and table tennis duo.
Some of the athletes are impartial to the idea of playing in the Olympics with total strangers. However Seoul’s push for this movement aims to encourage unity and the sport of ice hockey to both nations as the interest in both is slim to none.
The only North Korean athletes so far to have qualified for the games are a pair’s figure skating team. However that has not stopped the North’s enthusiasm with an estimated 230 cheerleaders being sent to cheer on both sides. North Korea has also planned on sending 140 artists and 30 Taekwondo athletes for a demonstration according to Seoul’s Unification Ministry.
South Korea hopes that this diplomatic breakthrough through sports will release some of the political tension that the two nations have had. This comes as reassuring news in regards to the standoff concerning Pyongyang’s nuclear missile programs.
The two nations have arranged other measures to create a sense of unity between the athletes and the people. North Korea has proposed a joint a skiing training session at the Masik Pass Resort.
They have also arranged a joint cultural event by both nations’ performers at the Mount Kumgang resort. The officials from Seoul plan on visiting these sites next week and to further discuss any measures.
The United Nations sees communication the communication between Korea as a success of the sanctions that have been implemented on North Korea. However the Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono has said that we should not fall for North Korea’s charm tactic and now is definitely not the time to reward them.
Kono’s statement refers to the nuclear missile testing that had been happening over the top of Japan. Kono says that easing pressure on this situation would surely make it worse. In a sign of good faith, the United States-South Korea joint military drills and training have been suspended during the games but are expected to resume when they conclude.