By Anna Goorevich || Op-Eds Editor
The 2018 Winter Olympics began this week in Pyeongchang, South Korea and like many events these past few years, it has been enveloped in political turmoil. And due to the ongoing war between the South and North since their unresolved conflict in the 1950’s that left the Korean Peninsula divided along with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s reluctance to end his nuclear program, many believed that the South and the Games would be threatened.
However, instead of causing disruption to their neighbors to the Olympic Games and their neighbors to the South, North Korea has, in a rare occurrence, extended an olive branch to the South by agreeing to send a team to the games made up of 22 athletes, which will compete in unison with the Southern athletes, and a 500+ member delegation, including the highest ranking North Korean official to ever travel to the South, Kim Yong-nam, thereby creating interaction between the two countries in a type of sports diplomacy.
In recent years, the North has been testing nuclear weapons, including ones that supposedly have the power to reach the United States, which has left many on the international stage on edge.
President Trump, however, has done little to decrease tensions between North Korea and the rest of the world and attempt to use diplomatic means to end North Korea’s nuclear program.
For instance, in early January, President Trump childishly tweeted that he has a “bigger and more powerful” nuclear button than Kim Jong-un. While many times Trump’s tweets aren’t taken very seriously, it is dangerous that he tweets with such a war-mongering spirit.
Especially when considering a country like North Korea where most of the world does not have any idea what’s going on in the insides of their government and in the head of Kim Jong-un, Trump’s careless tweets and comments can be viewed as a threat to the unstable country and their dictator, thereby potentially sparking more nuclear tests or a serious attack towards the United States and their allies.
North Korea’s participance in the games in union with South Korea is significant in that it opens a door for a possible peace agreement and reunification of the Korean Peninsula in the future.
Even during the opening ceremonies, athletes from both the South and North walked together under one flag which donned a blue, unified Korean peninsula over a white background.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in dubbed this year’s Games as the “Peace Olympics” and said this is a “precious opportunity” to further a diplomatic solution to the issues that have plagued the Korean Peninsula for years, thereby instilling greater hope for a unified peninsula.
Rather than tweeting, threatening, and provoking North Korea, President Trump should instead take advantage of this rare opportunity to communicate peacefully and diplomatically with government officials in the North in order to finally make progress in this delicate world issue.
While the Winter Games are just starting to heat up this week, already success has been made for a stretch in world peace with the inclusion of North Korea into the games, proving once again how the power of sports can truly change the world.
First-year Anna Goorevich is the Op-Eds Editor. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.