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North and South Korea Announce Formation of First Ever Joint Olympic Team

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While the United States has been consumed with the news of false alarms and nuclear war, North and South Korea seem to be making progress toward open communication. North Korea intends to bring athletes to the upcoming Winter Olympic games, and now there is word that the two countries will join together and march as one in the opening ceremonies.

“The two Koreas agreed to form a combined women’s ice hockey team to take part in next month’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang in the South next month,” The Daily Mail reports.

South Korea even has a Unification Ministry that is handling the talks. Agents from the two countries met Wednesday the village of Panmunjom on the shared border between the two countries.

They’ve also agreed to march under what’s being called a “unification flag” that will not incorporate symbolism from either country’s flag, but will show an image of the whole Korean peninsula.

These plans must still be approved by the Olympic committee, but that approval is likely. The symbolic measures represent the very spirit of Olympic competition.

North Korea intends to send more than athletes. They’ve asked to bring 230 cheerleaders, 140 performing artists and 30 Taekwondo experts represent the nation.

While this move is exciting for those hoping for a peaceful resolution to the ongoing war of words, others note that this unification has been seen before with no lasting good-will. “Korea flag-bearer’s Bora Lee and Jong-In Lee, [carried] a unification flag during the 2006 Winter Olympics,” the Mail writes.

Yet this is the first time the two countries have had joint teams.

The unified Koreas “will serve as a chance to warm solidly frozen South-North ties,” President Moon Jae-in told South Korean Olympic athletes.

“But if we march together (during the opening ceremony) or field a single team, I think that can be a further step in developing South-North relations.”

The unification, however symbolic, may also keep North Korea from making any other provocations in their ongoing attempt to be taken seriously as a nuclear power.