Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Sports Diplomacy United Fans from North and South Korea

Throughout history, sports have played a pivotal role in fostering peace between nations, even within the historically tense relationship between North and South Korea. “Athletes work very hard to participate in the Olympic games. Regardless of whether they win or lose, they feel like they are in the same combat,” notes Kim Kyun Sung, Chairman of the YOG Support Committee. (https://abc7news.com/pyeongchang-peace-forum-sports-diplomacy-olympics/11726709/) In 2018, with tensions high between North Korea and the United States, South Korea invited North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to their country and North Korean athletes to participate in the Olympic Games. This act of diplomacy helped to pave the way for a broader dialogue between the two countries, and eventually, a summit between North Korea and the U.S., which briefly seemed to deescalate tensions. The 2018 PyeongChang Olympic games also featured a united North and South Korean women’s hockey team, the first time the two nations had competed together in the game’s history. This was a start, but the work to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula still continues in 2022, especially as the war in Ukraine pushes international tensions to the brink. Looking to the future, leaders in South Korea hope to hold the 2024 Youth Olympics in the combined province of Gangwon, which was split into two provinces in 1945 by the Military Demarcation Line and the Korean Demilitarized Zone, commonly known as the DMZ.

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