United Nations adopts Olympic Truce for PyeongChang Winter Olympics

Yolanda Curtis
November 15, 2017

"This is an ideal based on humanity", said Miroslav Lajcak, the General Assembly's president.

The Greek Olympic Truce tradition dates back to the eighth century BC, and has since served as a sacred principle of the Olympic Games.

The truce calls for the "safe passage" of athletes and officials to the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics and for member states to adopt Olympic values of promoting peace.

The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday in a statement "welcomed" the United Nations resolution and added that "the expression of the expectation that it will help promote peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia reflects the Korean government's commitment to make the PyeongChang event an 'Olympic of Peace'". The resolution was adopted by consensus on Monday at the 72nd General Assembly.

The resolution, adopted with a bang of the gavel by Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak to loud applause, urges United Nations member states to observe the truce from seven days before the games begin on February 9 until seven days after the Paralympic Winter Games end on March 18.

"Only the United Nations member states can guarantee the athletes the safe passage to the Olympic Games", he said.

The 17-day sporting event is to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, about an hour from the demilitarized zone.

Lee said that PyeongChang is ready to "welcome the world" for the 2018 Olympics with all construction done and the Olympic Flame touring the country.

In this photo captured from official UN footage, former South Korean figure skating champion Kim Yu-na addresses the UN General Assembly in NY on November 13, 2017.

He added that the collaboration between the organising committees of the next three Olympics, including Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022, provided an opportunity to build peace on the Korean Peninsula, Northeast Asia and the world.

"We Koreans vividly remember the Seoul Olympic Games, an exemplary example of showing peace through sport by bringing east and west together". In his speech Bach took time to speak about the "bridges" the Olympic Movement was building in an era of polarization.

"Although North Korea hasn't given an official response yet, we are very hopeful that they will compete".

In late September, North Korea secured qualification for its first athletes at the Pyeongchang Olympics when figure skaters Ryom Tae-Ok and Kim Ju-Sik finished in the top six in a qualifying event in Germany.

Kim continued, "I first experienced the same spirit and power when I was a 10-year-old watching the South Korean and North Korean delegations walk into the Olympic stadium together", recalling the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, when the two Koreas marched in under a single flag representing a unified Korean Peninsula. "They never erect walls".

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