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2017-11-02 17:24
By Cho Hyun 



The opening of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics is now less than 100 days away. A symbol of peace and harmony, the Olympic torch ignited in Greece arrived in our country Nov. 1. It is a sacred flame that brings a light to everyone as reflected in the slogan of the torch relay “Let Everyone Shine.” The 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul contributed to tearing down the East-West confrontation and hostility. The PyeongChang Olympics, held 30 years after the Summer Games, may serve as a starting point of the Olympic relay in Northeast Asia, as the torch will be handed to Tokyo in 2020 and Beijing in 2022.

As we succeeded in achieving the holding of the Games after three bids, the international community has not only great confidence in us but also high expectations of us.  Some news reports of a few countries not participating in the Olympics due to security concerns have turned out to be distorted and exaggerated. A number of countries have already advised of the attendance of their heads of state at the opening ceremony, and there is a growing sense of excitement in the international community for the Olympics. The Korean Government and people are exerting the utmost efforts for safe and peaceful Games.

Peace and harmony are values which lie at the very heart of the Olympics. It is in this spirit that the Olympic Truce Resolution is adopted in the United Nations every two years urging Member States to cease any kind of conflict seven days before and after the Games. This resolution was proposed by the Republic of Korea and will be adopted by the UN General Assembly on Nov. 13 of this year too. It reflects the international community’s will for a peaceful PyeongChang Winter Games. It is my heartfelt wish, during the period of the Olympics, that any muzzles of rifles pointed at each other will be put down in every corner of the globe including the Korean Peninsula. Furthermore, given that various exchanges between the North and the South in the sports field have been held in spite of the difficult political situations, I look forward to seeing the heart-touching scene of the two Koreas together in PyeongChang this time again.

Sports can serve as a valuable foundation for national power _ in particular this serves as a symbol of soft power as well as an important diplomatic asset. There is widespread recognition that Yuna Kim and Ji-sung Park, beloved former figure skater and soccer player respectively, the current Honorary Ambassadors of the PyeongChang Olympics, play a great part in enhancing the national value. Love for these athletes can extend to an interest in the Korean language and culture, and prompt people to visit Korea. With the holding of the PyeongChang Olympics, Korea will now be ranked amongst the countries that have hosted both Summer and Winter Olympic Games. Korea, which has already hosted the World Cup and the World Championships in Athletics, will have organized four major world sports event.

Support and cooperation by the international community are crucial for the successful hosting of the PyeongChang Olympics which is a festival bringing all people of the world together. And those from other countries who are living in Korea have an important role to play in this. People from around the world residing in Korea understand that there’s no need to panic about provocations by North Korea. Let us cheer for the success of the Olympics as encapsulated in the slogan “Passion. Connected.” You have a chance to cheer for your national team in the Olympics, a rare opportunity which for many only comes maybe once in your life, in PyeongChang in February next year. In addition, I would like to invite your support for the PyeongChang Paralympics which will be held on March 9th-18th, a festival that, going beyond disability, prejudice and discrimination, truly brings the global citizens of the world together. It is my heartfelt aspiration that new horizons for peace and harmony are open in PyeongChang in February next year, as referred to in the Olympic vision. 


Cho Hyun is the second vice foreign minster.


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