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North and South Korea Forms Joint Olympic Team and Will March Together

A historical moment for the Koreas.

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Earlier this year, the leaders of North Korea and South Korea met in an attempt to re-establish relations. During that meeting, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un said he’s open to North Korea participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics, which will be hosted in Pyeongchang, South Korea. However, before moving onto more difficult political and military issues, South Korean officials said they will focus on Olympic cooperation first.

North and South Korea by night, from the International Space Station. (NASA, Wikimedia Commons)

Since the meeting, North and South Korea have agreed to create a joint Olympic team and march together under a unified flag during the opening ceremony on February 9. The Korean Unification flag, which depicts a blue silhouette of the peninsula and its outlying islands on a white background, was made to represent both countries as one team during sporting events. According to South Korea’s unification ministry, the nations will be forming a joint North and South Korean women’s ice hockey team.

The unification ministry also announced a range of joint activities between the countries, including training together at the Masikryong ski resort in North Korea before the Olympics starts. Performers from both countries will also be holding a joint cultural event there. In addition, North Korea will also be sending a group of 230 supporters to cheer for both countries at the games.

While these agreements will need approval from the International Olympic Committee, this is a significant step towards unification for two countries that have technically been at war since 1950. This will be the first time the countries have joined together as a unified team in 11 years. It will also be the first time the host country will not be waving its own flag during the opening ceremony. These acts of unification could be hinting at peace between the two nations. However, only time will tell whether the Olympics will bring the Koreas together or if tensions will rise again after the games.

Arianna is a student at Penn State University. She has written for various websites, including Thought Catalog and The Odyssey Online. Arianna also runs her own blog called Yoga With Mimosas in which she combines her passion for fitness and writing in hopes of inspiring and empowering others through her work. You can reach her at arianna@yogawithmimosas.com.

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