North Korea and South Korea have agreed to have athletes march together under one flag at the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, following days of talks between the two countries.
The two countries will even create a joint women’s soccer team to compete at the Pyeongchang games. This will mark the first unified team in since their athletes played together for the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships in Chiba, Japan.
At the opening ceremony, the team will march behind the Korean Unification Flag, the flag that designed to rep when North and South Korea participate as one during sporting events. Debuted at the ’91 Table Tennis championships, the flag has been used at nearly every Olympic game except for the ’14 Sochi games when North Korea didn’t participate.
But it’s not about the medal count collected by the closing ceremony, or even how well the two teams mesh as one— it’s about the first step to the future…hopefully.
President Moon Jae-in of South Korea is surely relieved that the two countries are showing some semblance of getting along. According to The Diplomat, Jae-in outlined his plan for repairing the relationship during a speech in Berlin, Germany last summer. He acknowledged that it’d be a long process and hopes that the support of the United States would help in urging North Korea to get rid of its nuclear weapons. He wants to end the Korean war and create unity with the North. Meanwhile, President Trump has been calling North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jung-un “rocket man,” alluded to him being short and fat, and has threatened the North with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
And just in case things don’t go well with North Korea, the South requested permission from the U.S. to strengthen its firepower towards the end of July.
But war and nuclear weapons aside, the two countries have also agreed to let their skiing team train together in North Korea, so there is some progress and hopefully, it’s not fleeting.