Many South Koreans are voicing complaints about their Presidential Blue House’s proposal to combine some North and South Korean teams in the upcoming Winter Olympics, to be held in South Korea. Amid heightening tensions on the peninsula, it seems clear that South Korea hopes to advance peace talks through North Korea’s Olympic participation, but some within the nation, and the Olympic teams, have expressed concerns that the peace effort is one-sided, and President Moon Jae-in is assuming too weak a position in negotiations.
For many, the Olympic Games are the very pinnacle of athletic competition. Athletes the world over train for their entire lives, often at great personal and financial expense, all for an opportunity to represent their nation on the world’s stage in a contest of skill and will that dates back to another era of human civilization. Olympic teams, comprised of the best athletes from any particular nation, train rigorously to develop effective relationships, and now, only three weeks before the games are set to take place, South Korean officials are drawing fire for attempting to force teams from each nation to combine in the name of diplomacy they fear is ineffective.
Many people worry that North Korea is taking advantage of the Pyeongchang Olympics to publicize its political propaganda,” parliament member Kim Ki-sun said on Monday. “How long did the peace last after the two Koreas marched together in past games?”
South Korea’s women’s ice hockey team was called out, in particular, by their nation’s government as ready for integration with players from the aggressive North Korean regime, which came as a surprise to the team itself, as they returned from weeks of training in the United States to better hone their ability to perform as a team at the highest levels of competition. The athletes have not been permitted to discuss their feelings on the team integration, but some team officials have broken the silence under the condition of anonymity to protest what they consider to be a decisions based on political agenda, rather than effective diplomacy.