In this year’s Olympic games, which start on Friday in Pyeongchang, North and South Korea will march under one united flag. They will also play on a joint women’s ice hockey team, and North Korea will send 22 athletes to compete in three sports.
This decision comes after the first high-level talks between North and South Korea in more than two years. While South Korean President Moon Jae-in has called the moves important steps toward peace in North-South relations, many South Koreans disagree. South Koreans in Seoul set fire to the North Korean flag and pictures of Kim Jong Un at protests in late January, and the president’s approval rating has dropped significantly since the decision was announced.
Tens of thousands have signed online petitions urging President Moon to scrap the plan. Some, including South Korea’s hockey coach, worry that including North Korean players will damage South Korea’s chances of winning a medal.
However, President Moon told South Korean Olympic athletes in January that the North's participation in the Olympics would help improve intra-Korean relations. Moon hopes that could help with nuclear negotiations and more productive dialogue.
To discuss, we’re joined by Sik Son, executive director of KA Voice, an organization aiming to increase political representation of Korean Chicagoans, and Jin Choi, a professor of economics at DePaul University.
Sik Son, executive director of KA Voice
Jin Choi, a professor of economics at DePaul University