09 February 2018
Today at the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, a contingent of some 190 athletes from South Korea and North Korea will march in together behind a common flag bearing the name “Korea” – symbolising Korean unification.
This is significant because it has been 12 years since the two Koreas have marched together as one group in an Olympics event with a flag displaying an undivided Korean peninsula.
President Moon has been enthusiastically promoting the Pyeongchang Olympics as the “Peace Olympics” since the start of his administration. How long this current thaw in inter-Korean tensions will last and whether the US and North Korea will commence direct talks either during or after the Olympics is anyone’s guess.
Regardless of what will happen after the Olympics, engagement and peace between the two Koreas is definitely a preferred development over the alternative of war on the Korean peninsula.
If there is going to be one takeaway from the Pyeongchang Olympics, it proves that once again sports can never truly be separated from domestic or international politics.
If – and it is a big if – President Moon can successfully achieve a breakthrough in inter-Korean ties, the Pyeongchang Olympics might be remembered as the Games where Korea won its best ever gold medal.
… Shawn Ho is an associate research fellow with the Regional Security Architecture Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University of Singapore.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 09/02/2018