Anchor: The UN General Assembly has adopted a symbolic resolution calling for a truce during the upcoming 2018 PyeongChang Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Organizers of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, expect long-time adversary North Korea to hold off for as long as possible on deciding whether to participate in the Games, South Korea's top sports official said on Tuesday.
According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the resolution titled "Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal" urges all countries to cease conflicts during the period of the Truce that begins seven days before the opening of the games and until the seventh day after the closing. "It says that, no matter what is going on in state capitals around the world, people will always have a space in which to engage and connect".
"In less than 90 days from now, the entire world will enjoy the most spectacular Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang on the Korean Peninsula", Lee Hee-beom, chief of the PyeongChang Organizing Committee, told the assembly. Reflecting the special circumstances of the Korean Peninsula - namely, continuing concerns about a military clash - the Olympic Truce resolution calls for "safe passage, access and participation for athletes and relevant persons at the Games".
"The Olympic Charter states the goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity", she said, in a speech ahead of the passing of the resolution. "The Olympic Games demonstrate that our values of a shared humanity are stronger than all the forces that want to divide us".
The PyeongChang Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games are slated to run next year from February 9-25 and March 9-18, respectively, against the backdrop of heightened tensions over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.
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In late September, North Korea secured qualification for its first athletes at the Pyeongchang Olympics when figure skaters Ryom Tae-Ok and Kim Ju-Sik finished in the top six in a qualifying event in Germany.
"Indeed, Pyeongchang represents perhaps the most honest efforts to cross frozen borders between South and North Korea and foster a peaceful environment", she said. Two others are the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
The resolution noted "possibilities of new partnership in sport and beyond for Republic of Korea, Japan and China". The Olympic Truce, which traces back to the Ekecheiria (a truce held during the Olympics in ancient Greece), has been an Olympic tradition since it passed the UN General Assembly in October 1993 and took force during the Lillehammer Winter Olympics the next year.
The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday in a statement "welcomed" the United Nations resolution and added that "the expression of the expectation that it will help promote peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia reflects the Korean government's commitment to make the PyeongChang event an 'Olympic of Peace'".
Kim said she experienced "the same spirit and power" as a 10-year-old watching the South Korean and North Korean delegations jointly enter the arena at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
It was claimed last month that North Korea had expressed their intention to compete at the Winter Paralympic Games, which would require them to be given wildcard entries. Attention is turning to South Korean President Moon Jae-in's plan to take the truce as an opportunity to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula and engineer a turning point in the North Korean nuclear crisis.
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