It's a bizarre world we live in, when an act of diplomacy by the 'Rocketman' of North Korea is seen as more presidential and diplomatic than the 'Tweeter-in-Chief' from America. Kim Jong-Un, chairman of the Worker's Party of Korea (amongst many other elaborate titles) allowed a celebratory Olympic squad of figure skaters and ice hockey players to cross the DMZ (without being shot at) to attend the games in the South. Joining the squad were hundreds of cultural artists and cheerleaders, who marched in unison with their southern neighbours.
We must remember, though, that the North has engaged in similar activities in the past, sending athletes to march with the South at the Olympic Games in Sydney 2000, amongst other sporting events across the world. None of these events have had a lasting effect.
Despite the seemingly unlikely long-term positive effects of temporary reunification at the PyeongChang Olympics, I would argue that fielding a unified Korean team is better than it not happening at all.
We can look at the Olympic values as a starting point for some form of reconciliation, and the end of war on the Korean peninsula. Firstly, the Olympic Truce, established at the original games in Greece in 776BC before being reintroduced in the 1990s with support from the United Nations. The Olympic Truce aimed to eliminate the armed conflict besieging Greece at the time. Now, the situation on the Korean peninsula is not quite a full-on armed conflict but, with nuclear proliferation advancing at a rapid pace in the North, and the man with the much bigger and more powerful button in America willing and ready to press it, a truce of gigantic Olympic proportions is exactly what's needed.
Preventing nuclear obliteration or any kind of reckless action is a major accomplishment. Relations may well return to the way they were before, but in the spirit of the Olympic Truce, should we not at least try to use to sport to exploit the window of opportunity that has been created to ensue dialogue between the Koreans?
The mission of the Olympic Spirit is 'to build a peaceful and better world in the Olympic Spirit which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play… to promote tolerance and understanding in these increasingly troubled times in which we live, to make our world a more peaceful place.' The world should be advocating the harnessing of this spirit to restore stability in the 'Land of the Morning Calm.'
Let's harness the Olympic Spirit to promote understanding of the conflict. Let's strengthen the increasing communication between North and South to go beyond 'satisfactory agreements'. Let's stop the relentless mocking of the North and encourage a Korean solution to the Korean problem. The PyeongChang Winter Olympics could be the sporting event that finally brings peace to the peninsula, if we allow it to.
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