Posted : 2018-01-12 16:50
Updated : 2018-01-12 18:25

IOC meeting on N. Korea

Preparation for ‘peace Olympics' to begin next week

The two Koreas' breakthrough deal earlier this week on cooperating on the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games has renewed the world's attention to the "peace Olympics." After a high-level meeting on Jan. 9, it was announced that North Korea would send a delegation of athletes, cheerleaders, officials and journalists.

North Korea's participation has a special significance because it was announced amid icy inter-Korean relations. Many South Koreans had not been enthusiastic about PyeongChang, but took more interest following the news of North Korea's participation in the nation's first Winter Olympic Games.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will arrange a meeting on Jan. 20 at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, to discuss North Korea's participation in the upcoming PyeongChang Games.

The meeting, to be chaired by IOC President Thomas Bach, will include delegations from the two Koreas, including officials from the PyeongChang 2018 Organizing Committee, members of the National Olympic Committees from both Koreas and government officials. During the meeting, representatives from the two Koreas will discuss details regarding North Korea's Olympic participation, such as the size of North Korea's delegation and which athletes will compete. The meeting will also address other issues, such as the format of their participation, including flags, anthems and ceremonies.

As Bach said, North Korea's decision to come to PyeongChang is "a great step forward in the Olympic spirit." The decision has also been backed by Korea's neighbors and the global community.

"We hope the two sides can take the opportunity of the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games to improve relations, push forward reconciliation and cooperation and make positive efforts to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula," the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.

As with all delegations, North Korea deserves to be treated well. But the government should bear in mind there is some negative public sentiment about the motives behind North Korea's sudden decision to join the Olympics. Also, there is a growing controversy about the costs South Korea will shoulder for the North Korean delegation and whether this goes against United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions. There are also concerns about the costs for non-athletes, such as performers, cheering squads and the taekwondo demonstration team.

The government should be sure the accommodation and logistics for the North Korean delegation are within the boundaries of UNSC sanctions. Also, North Korea should not be allowed to use the Olympics as an occasion to promote its regime to the outside world.

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