A Unified KoreaJanuary 29, 2018
The 2018 Olympic Winter Games, XXIII begins next Friday, the 9th of February in PyeongChang, Korea, 65 miles south of North Korea and runs through the 25th of February. The opening ceremony on the 9th of February will have both Koreas march together, under one flag in Korea as the hosting nation of the XXIII Olympic games, a symbolic historic first. The next day, the Korean Women’s Olympic Ice Hockey team, made up of North Korean (DPRK) and South Koreans (ROK), will play their first match together, another historic first team sport for Korea in the Olympics. It is a tremendous gesture of goodwill reflecting the three Olympic values of Friendship, Respect and Excellence on the Korean Peninsula. Only under the leadership of the South Korean President Moon Jae-In, through the reconciliation committee in dialog with the North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un did this take place. Planned annual Military Exercises with the United States of America and the Republic of Korea were postponed until after the Olympics as a goodwill gesture to bringing the Koreans together for the Olympics and deescalating the North Koreans from testing and provoking during the Olympics.
There is great merit and movement in unifying the Koreans during the Olympic games leveraging diplomacy through sport to open dialogue. There is reality of the what has taken place over two decades and the accelerated escalation over the past year in demonstrated ICBM capability and nuclear weapon testing.
“So, we do not lose sight of the fact that the Olympics talks alone do not address overarching problems …Accordingly, our combined militaries stand shoulder to shoulder to defend against any attacks on the South or USA.” Sec Def Jim Mattis (January 26, 2018) in a statement after meeting with the ROK Minster of Defense Song Young-moo in Honolulu, Hawaii on Friday.
It too is significant for the Olympic international community and all the participants that the United States has deployed and in full operation on the Korean Peninsula to deter and defend against North Korea, the 35th Air and Missile Defense Brigade comprised of two Patriot Battalions of MSE and Patriot Interceptors and a THAAD Battery.
As two nations walk down this diplomatic path to denuclearize North Korea, it will be essential to create a dialogue with North Korea that is face saving as when the games end and the military exercises resume, reaction will take place by North Korea and the United States will weld its options to denuclearize North Korea.
“As two peace-loving nations, South Korea and America welcome the Olympics Games talks between the South and the DPRK- at the same time remaining steadfast with the international economic pressure campaign to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.” Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (January 26, 2018)
We welcome a unified Korea.