It has been nearly two decades since North and South Korea marched together for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Since then, tensions have grown between the bordering nations. As a result, South Korean President Moon Jae-in was hoping to utilize the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang to improve relations with their northern neighbor.
At the World Taekwondo Championships in Muju this past weekend, President Moon proposed that the two countries enter the 2018 Games together. There were multiple suggestions made on how the Korea's could work something out by February; however, they were all shot down by the lone North Korean International Olympic Committee member, Chang Ung.
Joint Women's Hockey Team
It was proposed that North and South Korea could form a joint women’s ice hockey team, but Chang reminded the public that it took 22 rounds of international talks, lasting five months to form a duel table tennis team for the World Championships in 1991.
Another suggestion was to have North Korea co-host some ski events, but with less than eight months until the opening ceremonies, Chang stated that it was too late to begin talks about co-hosting. He also mentioned that he did not think the Olympics should be used for political purposes.
North Korean Olympic Participation
Although President Moon remains hopeful that North Korea will at least compete in the Olympics, it does not look promising, as the North has yet to qualify an athlete for the 2018 Games. In fact, only a single pair of figure skaters remain in contention for Olympic qualification.
With the PyeongChang Olympics right around the corner, it does not look likely that the two nations will come to an agreement. Moon, along with Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, are open to exploring future sporting ventures such as reviving the annual Seoul-Pyongyang football match that dates back to 1929. The matches stopped when the peninsula was divided in 1948.