Two Koreas practice “sports diplomacy”, with a joint appearance at the Asian games and a basketball tournament.
A week after the Peace Summit in Singapore concluded, with President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Chairman Kim Jong Un signing a historic agreement to work toward de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula, a scan of Asian news outlets show that the two Koreas are moving toward forming a closer and friendlier relationship.
As they did with the 2018 Winter Olympics, the two nations have agreed to send a joint team to this year’s Asian Games.
The agreements on sports sector exchanges were made during inter-Korean talks at the truce village of Panmunjeom.
Joint participation in the Asian Games this year was among the agreements in the Panmunjeom Declaration reached at the April 27 inter-Korean summit.
According to the ministry, athletes from the two Koreas will march together at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games under the “unification flag,” and Arirang, a Korean folk song, will be played instead of the national anthems of the North and the South when they enter. It will be the 11th joint entrance at an international sports event.
The Koreas will also field joint teams for several events.
In a move sure to please Kim, the Koreas will also hold an inter-Korean basketball competition in Pyongyang between July 3 and 6, and another in Seoul in the fall.
Between Trump’s videos and athletics-based diplomacy, it seems like the peace process is moving quickly. In fact, a South Korean official indicates a formal end to the seven-decade-long conflict should be coming soon.
South Korea aims to formally end the Korean War within this year but will be flexible on the specific timing and format, as the process requires consultations with Pyongyang and Washington, Seoul’s top diplomat said Monday.
Speaking to reporters shortly after a telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said the Trump administration is willing to declare a formal end to the 1950-53 conflict, which was agreed between the leaders of the two Koreas in April.
“I think (we) need to produce a result through consultations with the U.S., and North Korea. But (South Korea) plans to handle the issue of timing and format with flexibility,” she said at a press conference.
Additionally, Kim plans to visit China soon to brief President Xi Jinping on his Singapore summit and discuss a future negotiating strategy.
It would mark Kim’s third meeting with Xi after a secret first trip to Beijing in late March and a second one in China’s northeastern coast city Dalian in early May.
Sue Mi Terry, a Korea expert at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, told the South China Morning Post that Kim’s recent engagement in diplomacy meant that frequent visits to China and meetings with Xi, rather than phone calls, made sense.
Kim would be expected to brief Xi about his meeting with Trump and get China involved more deeply in his diplomacy, Terry said after the Review report was published.
Let’s hope that the Chinese are good sports about this Singapore Summit, and decide to help the peace process along.DONATE
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