"So, we will head to Pyeongchang with three Olympians". "Coming myself from a formerly divided country, I know how strong such a message can be, about the powerful signal of the wish of the peace it can be", he added, referring to Germany's history of being divided into East and West Germany during the Cold War.
A South Korea delegation arrives at the inter-Korea transit office near the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas in Goseong to cross into the North to inspect venues for joint pre-Olympic events. Liberty Korea Party Floor Leader Kim Sung-tae said "they're throwing away Korea and the national anthem and telling us to go over Arirang Pass into the kingdom of Joseon", while the party's senior spokesperson Jang Je-won said "handing over the Pyeongchang Olympics and announcing the Pyongyang Olympics is like giving a mere colonel the devotion owed to a queen". A Pyeongchang organizing committee official said nothing has been decided.
The two countries have had joint marches at nine previous worldwide competitions.
The issue of women forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops in World War II has roiled relations between the neighbours - both USA allies and both threatened by nuclear-armed North Korea. He is one of the few foreigners to have met with Kim Jong Un since Kim became the North's leader.
"This is the uniform will of the 32,000 North Korean defectors who have put their lives on the line in their journey to South Korea", Park shouted as he and other activists ripped three photos of Kim and threw the pieces into the air in protest of what they called the "Pyongyang Olympics".
"North Korea is an Olympic participant so there's a need to properly treat them as such", he said. As such, any reasonable measure, such as a joint Olympic Korean team, should be treated as a viable opportunity toward a meaningful resolution.
The next Olympics bid, for the 2026 Winter Games, will be awarded in 2019.
The unified team will compete under the name "Korea" while the remaining athletes will compete for their respective countries. "They should support their athletes and respect other teams that are coming and be the good host for the best winter sports athletes from the world". "In the Olympic Movement, all 206 national Olympic committees are being treated equally". "According to our contacts, it is highly probable that there will be a military parade on this day, however no one can guarantee these types of events until the morning of the possible parade date", its brochure said.
Any form of financial support for North Korea could potentially weaken the united front in enforcing global sanctions, but Bach said, "IOC has always respected the U.N. sanctions and will always respect the U.N. sanctions", without elaborating. For the duration of the Olympics and the Paralympics, from February 9 until March 18, the eyes of the world will be on Pyeongchang.
Just as ping-pong diplomacy created a positive new dynamic between Communist China and the United States, Olympic diplomacy may become an early public step toward a much-needed resolution.