Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

United Nations urges countries to stop conflicts during winter Olympics

Katie Ormerod in action in Milan
Credit
2017 Action Plus  Pierre Teyssot Katie Ormerod in action in Milan Credit 2017 Action Plus Pierre Teyssot
Patty Aguilar | 14 November, 2017, 10:34

The U.N. General Assembly on Monday endorsed a resolution calling on nations of the world to uphold an Olympic Truce for the time of next year's Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang, and foster peace and tolerance on the Korean Peninsula and beyond.

Last Saturday, Culture Minister Do Jong-hwan left for NY to attend the meeting, with a 10-strong South Korean delegation that includes Lee Hee-beom, chief of the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) and Kim Yu-na, a figure skating champion and Honorary Ambassador for the games.

It also "urges member states to observe the Olympic Truce individually and collectively, within the framework of the Charter of the United Nations", throughout the period running from seven days before the start of the Olympic Games until seven days after the end of the Paralympic Games.

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. Only the UN Member States can guarantee the athletes a safe passage to the Olympic Games.

"It was at this General Assembly last September that South Korea President Moon Jae-in expressed his commitment to achieving peace on the Korean Peninsula". This resolution, which Moon submitted during a meeting with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach in September, was largely drafted by the South Korean government and was co-sponsored by more than 140 countries, including the US, China, Japan and Russian Federation.

In his words, "Only the United Nations member states can guarantee the athletes the safe passage to the Olympic Games". The resolution notes "that Pyeongchang 2018 marks the first of three consecutive Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in Asia, to be followed by Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022, offering possibilities of new partnership in sport and beyond for Republic of Korea, Japan and China".

In his remarks, the President of the United Nations General Assembly H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajcak, said: "The Olympic Games and the United Nations aspire to the same ideal". "Pyeonchang represents perhaps the most honest effort to cross frozen borders between North and South Korea and foster a peaceful environment", Kim added. Two North Korean figure skaters have already qualified for the Games, but it is not known if they will compete. In a speech to the UN General Assembly, Kim, who is now serving as an honorary ambassador for the games, recalled the power of the Olympic spirit as she watched the opening ceremonies of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yo has assured this year's Olympics will be a success.

"The Olympic Truce is about the promotion of peace through sport". Then as now, the Olympic Games are a symbol of hope and peace.

In addition, the 2018 Olympics face the prospect of bringing together athletes from both North and South Korea.

Concerns have risen in the region following a series of missile tests by North Korea in recent months. It simply said "Korea".

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