South Korea will host the 2018PyeongChang Olympics next month and unifies with North Korea to march under oneflag, however South Koreans object and feel that the tournament was exploitedfor political purposes. After several weeks ofconversation between two countries, both concluded to a decision which allowsNorth Korea to participate in the tournament and marches with South Korea withone flag.
The International OlympicCommittee favored the discussion that they considered as a breakthrough forNorth and South Korea whose negotiations were faint since the beginning. North Korea’s participation inthe Winter Olympics includes sending 22 athletes—12 of them will join the Southwomen’s hockey team, 140-member art troupe, 230-member cheer leading squad,reporters, and officials. They were also reported to conductconcerts, joint military training, and sporting demonstration throughout theOlympics. The IOC and both governments werevery optimistic with the unification happened since both parties came into a negotiationamidst the tension. According to IOC president ThomasBach from Yonhap News Agency, the Olympics could be a tool for both countriesto show how to compete peacefully and respectfully despite of the differences. Furthermore, they consider theunification of North and South Korea shows the Olympic spirit of respect andunderstanding. However, South Koreans weren’tpleased with what the both countries come into together.
Small groups of South Koreandemonstrators rallied against the North by burning the unified flag with apicture of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un when delegates from North arrived ledby star singer Hyon Song-Wol. The South community protests thatthe PyeongChang Olympics is turning into “Pyeongyang” Olympics with how theNorth Korea diverts the attention to them. They also feel that the Olympicsis turning into a political tool for both countries where South Korea pushespeace negotiations through the tournament while the North uses it for theirpropagandas. This result to compromising thesport events and the athletes such as South Korean loses playing opportunity inexchange for the 12 North Koreans to be in the hockey team. Seoul newspaper Dong-A said in aneditorial that sports should be free from politics and it weakened the power ofcoaches to form the team. Many South Koreans also think thatsports should be decided based on abilities, and not on politics.
The situation got even worse whenPrime Minister Lee Nak-Yon tried to justify the joint-hockey team saying theteam probably wasn’t going to medal anyway despite of the changes that will beimplemented. Furthermore, South leader MoonJae-In also stated that the games offer a “precious chance” to solve the NorthKorean nuclear crisis. “The Pyeongchang Olympics wouldnot only achieve inter-Korea reconciliation but also offer a lead towardseasing tension on the peninsula and forging peace,” President Moon said throughhis office. However, the Souths believed thatit isn’t necessary to negotiate and use the event for it will prioritize theNorth Korea and compromise the tournament. “No South Korean wouldbelieve that the nuclear conundrum will be solved if the government stages a’joint hosting’ of the Games.” Seoul newspaper Joong Ang stated in aneditorial.
The sudden change of atmospherebetween two countries left the South Koreans confused and enraged and made themresist with the idea of unifying with the North. “Why are we doing this? Weare clearly two different countries and it’s better if things stay that way. Idon’t want a unified team or a unification flag.
Why can’t we just let theNorth Koreans march under their own flag?” 40-year old teacher Heo Doo-wonsaid through Yonhap News. Most of the people took to socialmedia to object after the unification was announced. Some protested anddisowned the unified flag saying they will not honor it.
“That is NOT my g—- flag. I didNOT salute that rag while I was in the ROK (Republicof Korea) Army. It is not the flag that draped over the coffins of those 46sailors of the ROKS Cheonan that those b—- murdered,” John Lee tweeted. The unified flag features apicture of the peninsula colored in blue. South Korea will be the firstcountry to not wave its own flag at the Olympic opening ceremony.
The flag was also prior used in 2000Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, SouthKorea, the 2003 Summer Universiade in Daegu, South Korea, the 2004 SummerOlympics in Athens, Greece, the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, and the 2006Asian Games in Doha, Qatar. The 2018 PyeongChang WinterOlympics will be on February 9 until 25, 2018.