South Korea Leader Hopes for Unified Olympic Team With the North

June 26, 2017

By CHOE SANG-HUN

 

SEOUL, South Korea — President Moon Jae-in of South Korea proposed on Saturday that his country and North Korea form a unified team to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics, to be held in the city of Pyeongchang in the South.

Mr. Moon made the overture during a speech at the opening ceremony of a World Taekwondo championship in the city of Muju in South Korea. The North does not compete in the championship but sent a demonstration team, led by Jang Woong, its delegate to the International Olympic Committee. It was the first sports exchange since Mr. Moon took office.

The South Korean president, who advocates dialogue and reconciliation with North Korea, recalled past instances where the two Koreas fielded joint teams in international sports competitions and their national teams marched together in Olympic Games.

“I want to see the same glory again,” he said, asking Mr. Jang for cooperation. “I want to feel the same Olympic sensation.”

If they form a unified team for the Pyeongchang Olympics, it would be a major milestone in inter-Korean relations. South Korean officials hope such a feat would help create a thaw on the Korean Peninsula after years of tensions spurred by the North’s nuclear and missile tests.

North Korea has yet to announce whether it wants to attend the Pyeongchang Olympics. The North and South remain bitter political and sports rivals.

When the South hosted the 1988 Summer Olympics, in Seoul, the North boycotted it. But strong ethnic nationalism also compels people in one Korea to cheer for the other Korea when it competes with any other country, especially Japan, which once ruled the Korean Peninsula as a colony.

Efforts by both sides to seek reconciliation through sports exchanges have sometimes led to breakthroughs. In 1991, the two Koreas fielded a joint team to an international table-tennis championship and international youth soccer tournament.

In 2000, the year the two countries held their historic first summit meeting, their delegations marched together at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympics. They again marched together at the 2004 Athens Olympics, using the single name “Korea” and carrying a “Korea is one” flag. But they competed separately in 2000 and 2004.

The potential implications of millions of Koreans cheering together for their unified team could be huge — a prospect that could further advance Mr. Moon’s policy of promoting dialogue and exchanges with the North.

But past efforts to form a unified Olympic team have all faltered over politically delicate details such as whether a joint team should have an equal number of players from each side, which side should choose the head coach and where the team would train.

Such efforts for unity in sports also provide a testing ground for overcoming obstacles to reunification. For instance, after seven decades of division, athletes from the two Koreas use sharply different sports vocabulary. In South Korea, broadcasts of soccer matches are interspersed with English terms like “goal post,” “penalty kick” and “midfield.” In the North, where state linguists abhor foreign terminology, athletes use Korean translations not readily understandable to South Korean players.

The two Koreas have even developed different versions of taekwondo, their traditional martial art. The North is promoting the rival International Taekwondo Federation. The South’s version became an Olympic medal sport in 2000.

On Saturday, Mr. Moon welcomed the North Korean taekwondo team to the South, which hopes to send its demonstration team to an International Taekwondo Federation competition to be held in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, in September.

He said the two taekwondo federations’ cooperation should inspire the two Koreas to work for a joint Olympic team. “Sports are a powerful tool to demolish walls and separation,” he said.

10 Comments

  1. stickman

    June 27, 2017 at 12:47 AM

    The information you share is very useful. It is closely related to my work and has helped me grow. Thank you!

  2. bloxorz

    July 19, 2017 at 8:33 PM

    Very good, I think I found the knowledge I needed. I will see and refer some information in your post. thank you.

  3. happy wheels

    July 21, 2017 at 2:14 AM

    Your article is awesome! How long does it take to complete this article? I have read through other blogs, but they are cumbersome and confusing. I hope you continue to have such quality articles to share with everyone! I believe there will be many people who share my views when they read this article from you!

  4. christian baby names

    July 31, 2017 at 10:47 PM

    thanks for givig this info

  5. python quiz

    August 2, 2017 at 9:14 PM

    Very useful info, thanks

  6. jelly gamat walatra

    August 5, 2017 at 12:44 AM

  7. usps tracking

    August 28, 2017 at 7:26 PM

    It’s great because of the knowledge you share with us, I will always follow your blog and will share your blog with my friends

  8. slither io

    August 30, 2017 at 8:31 PM

    Thanks for your article! I have read through some similar topics! However, your post has given me a very special impression, unlike other posts. I hope you continue to have valuable articles like this or more to share with everyone!

  9. Johanson

    October 3, 2017 at 1:04 AM

    I am very shocked after reading this news which is about South Korea Leader Hopes for Unified Olympic Team With the North. I think these both countries have to do work together for the improvement of these countries. I want to get more news related to it from you here.
    Click to buy Ground Reinforcement Mesh online in UK

  10. color switch

    October 11, 2017 at 2:37 AM

    Thanks for the site is the very generate the game gta game is very good keys play the game.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>