UN Promises Peaceful Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

Henrietta Strickland
November 14, 2017

The Olympic Truce for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games was approved by consensus by the United Nations General Assembly on Monday (13 November) in New York, USA, following two hours of discussions between Member States.

Last Saturday, Culture Minister Do Jong-hwan left for NY to attend the meeting, with a 10-strong South Korean delegation that includes Lee Hee-beom, chief of the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) and Kim Yu-na, a figure skating champion and Honorary Ambassador for the games.

The 23rd Olympic Winter Games will take place in Pyeongchang from February 9-25 and the 12th Paralympic Winter Games will be held from March 9-18.

The truce comes at a tense time after North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test in September - its most powerful to date -and has carried out a spate of tests of ballistic missiles, some of which have flown over Japan, this year. The Olympic Truce, which traces back to the Ekecheiria (a truce held during the Olympics in ancient Greece), has been an Olympic tradition since it passed the UN General Assembly in October 1993 and took force during the Lillehammer Winter Olympics the next year.

"Indeed, Pyeongchang represents perhaps the most honest efforts to cross frozen borders between South and North Korea and foster a peaceful environment", she said.

"In less than 90 days from now, the entire world will enjoy the most spectacular Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang on the Korean Peninsula", Lee Hee-beom, chief of the PyeongChang Organizing Committee, told the assembly.

The consensus for the Olympic Truce resolution included both the Republic of Korea and the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea as well as the future hosts of the Olympic Games: Japan, China, France and the United States of America.

"Only the United Nations member states can guarantee the athletes the safe passage to the Olympic Games", he said. Two North Korean figure skaters have already qualified for the Games, but it is not known if they will compete. "Indeed PyeongChang represents the most honest efforts to cross borders between south and north and foster a peaceful environment".

Kim said she experienced "the same spirit and power" as a 10-year-old watching the South Korean and North Korean delegations jointly enter the arena at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

"The Olympic Truce is about the promotion of peace through sport".

According to the resolution, the 2018 games "will be a meaningful opportunity to foster an atmosphere of peace, development, tolerance and understanding on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia". But other factors are the possibility of North Korea carrying out an additional provocation before the Olympics and the state of North Korea-US relations. North Korea boycotted the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. In order to stop that, we need to take a bold functional approach on issues such as reopening the Kaesong Complex and tourism to Mount Kumgang. It simply said "Korea".

President Moon Jae-in shakes hands with figure skaters following the close of their performance at the 18th conference of the National Unification Advisory Council at the Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangwon Province on October 31.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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