Will Two Koreas become One?

Victoria Liu, Editor of News

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On January 17th, 2018, North Korea and South Korea mutually announced that they will march under one flag in the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics which will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea. In addition, according to New York Times, representatives from North Korea and South Korea agreed to have one joint ice hockey team to compete in the coming Olympics.

This recent thaw in the relationship between North Korea and South Korea was highly unexpected. Given the unpredictable nuclear dynamics in North Korea and recent confrontations between South Korea and the United States, stability is set to continue. Yet, despite all rumors of grave danger and uncertainties, North Korea and South Korea have come to the same table.

A similar scenario near the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul ended up disastrously. Near the 1988 Olympic Games, according to Foreign Policy, the Korean Air Flight 858 suffered from an explosion, more than 100 passengers on board died because of this accident. Based on evidence collected after this explosion, the United States intelligence officials pinned North Korea as the major conspirator behind this attack, with the aim to frighten the international community away from the 1988 Games. Quickly after this incident, North Korea was placed on Sponsors of Terrorist list in the United States.

In late November last year, South Koreans faced the same uncertainties and fear towards North Korea’s potential behavior to disrupt the Games. When North Korea fired the latest round of ballistic missiles, President Moon of South Korea convened a meeting of national security to examine whether North Korea will undermine the Olympic Games in the summer.

But, almost 30 years after the explosion, North Korea and South Korea made their moves towards reconciliation. The host location of Pyeongchang is only 50 miles away from the Demilitarized zone, the border line between North Korea and South Korea. North Korea is projected to bring 550 people to the Games, and all athletes will cross the border 8 days before the Olympic Games.

Rumors have swept up about Korean reunification. Though North Korea and South Korea used the Olympic Games as a opportunity to open doors and hold hands, they do have a long way before two regimes with shared history and culture become one. As the Olympic Games nears, there will most likely be more reconciliations as well as engagements between the two Koreas.

 

North Korea and South Korea have jointly agreed to participate in the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Games.

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Will Two Koreas become One?