One of the biggest talking points ahead of next months Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, has been the ongoing talks between South and North Korea. The two nations have been in conflict for over 70 years but with the 2018 edition of the Winter Games set to take place in South Korea for the first time, the countries have been locked in peace talks in recent weeks.
The first talks of any kind between the countries in more than two years, this week saw them come to a historic agreement. Marching under a unified Korean flag at the Games it has also been decided that they will field a joint women’s ice hockey team for the first time.
However, despite this breakthrough in the peace talks, not everyone is happy with this decision. There has been claims in South Korea that by combining the two hockey teams, it could weaken the South Korean’s chances of medalling in the event. Thousands of people have even signed a petition urging the South Korean President, Moon Jae to rethink these plans.
Despite this, should the plans go ahead as intended, North Korea will take hundreds of delegates including 230 cheerleaders, 140 musicians and 30 taekwondo athletes across the border as well as 150 Paralympic stars to the Games in March.
It may seem like only a sporting event, but uniting for these Games has opened a dialogue between the Korean nations which has not been seen for a number of years. The South Korean government have made it clear that they hope that this means improved diplomatic relations between the North and the South. This is particularly important as the issue of nuclear weapons still looms large over the countries with the North engaging in more well documented missile tests in recent months.
In what will be a symbolic move, it is also expected that prior to the Games a North Korean delegation will walk across the heavily armed border between the two nations to indicate the unification of the countries for the Olympics. Only twice before have Korea sent joint teams to sporting events. Both came in 1991 during the World Table Tennis Championships in Japan and for the football World Youth Championships in Portugal.
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