Working towards peace in Korea
In an opening ceremony filled with themes of peace and harmony, Kim Jong-un’s sister and Director of Propaganda, Kim Yo-Jong shook hands with the South Korean president Moon Jae-in creating history by becoming the first member of the ruling dynasty of DPRK to visit South Korea since the division in 1953. This visit was unthinkable until Kim Jong-un announced in January to allow North Korean athletes to compete in the Winter Games. North Korea’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam was also present in the opening ceremony seated alongside Kim Yo-Jong.
After a giant dove lit up the sky and popular South Korean singers performed, athletes from both sides of Korea walked under the Korean unification flag, which depicts the entire Korean Peninsula in blue against a white backdrop. This was a pretty historic moment, especially for North Korea, since it marked the first time they’ve taken part in the Winter Olympics in eight years.
Vice president of the United States Mike Pence was also present at the opening ceremony, though he remained seated when Korean athletes walked under a unified flag and only rose to clap for the US team when it entered the stadium. Previously, Pence has been vocal in his criticism of North Korea demanding for tough and aggressive sanctions. He also did not appear in the earlier dinner where he was due to share a table with North Korea’s 90-year-old ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam.
To show further signs of improving relations, Moon Jae-in and Kim Yo-Jong met for lunch at the blue house on Saturday. The two discussed Korean relations in a three-hour long meeting where Kim Yo-jong also passed on North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un’s handwritten letter to the South Korean president inviting him to visit Pyongyang at the earliest date possible for what would be the first summit between the two nations in more than a decade. Even though there hasn’t been any official announcement, Moon Jae-in showed his willingness to become the first South Korean president to set a foot in North Korea since 2007 by replying: “Let us create the right environment for that [the visit] to happen”.
With this statement, Moon was referring to the improvement in the relationship between North Korea and the United States asking Pyongyang to actively engage in dialogue with Washington. It is understood that the South Korean president won’t take such a huge step without the ‘backing’ of the United States who are likely to oppose such a visit considering that the U.S. still wants to apply maximum pressure on the isolated state. As of yet, we do not know if the South Korean president would visit Pyongyang or not, but what we do know is that there is a glimmer of hope that we might see peace; may be short-lived, but peace.
Pyongyang and Seoul will become closer in the heart of Koreans and for unification and prosperity in the near future. — Kim Yo-jong