United Nations to adopt Olympic Truce for PyeongChang Winter Olympics

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By adopting this resolution, the worldwide community at the United Nations recognises the power of sport and the relevance of the Olympic Games to bring the world together in peaceful competition, providing hope for a better future. The first operative clause of the resolution specifically asks Member States “to ensure the safe passage, access and participation of athletes, officials and all other accredited persons taking part in the Olympic Winter Games and Paralympic Winter Games”.

Korean champion figure skater Kim Yu-na address the United Nations General Assembly after the country submitted a resolution calling for peace through sports and Olympic ideals on Monday at the UN headquarters in NY.

South Korean gold medalist Kim Yu-na, an honorary ambassador for the Pyeongchang Olympics, speaks to the UN General Assembly in support of the Olympic Truce resolution on November 13.

"I firmly believe that PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will help spread the message of peace through one of the few languages that has the power to unite people around the world, the graceful and universal language of sport". In a speech to the UN General Assembly, Kim, who is now serving as an honorary ambassador for the games, recalled the power of the Olympic spirit as she watched the opening ceremonies of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

It urged member states to observe the Olympic Truce, recalling the ancient Greek tradition of ekecheiria, from seven days before the Games begin on February 9 until seven days after the Paralympic Winter Games end on March 18. "Pyeonchang represents perhaps the most honest effort to cross frozen borders between North and South Korea and foster a peaceful environment", Kim added.

Organisers are hopeful that the Games can be a vehicle for peace between the two countries. The Paralympics are to follow in mid-March. "The Republic of Korea is ready to welcome the world".

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The resolution, also known as the "Olympic Truce", is adopted every two years ahead of the Summer and Winter Olympic games to declare a truce and safe passage for all participants during the athletic events.

The resolution calls for the Olympic Truce to be respected from seven days before the start of the Olympic Games in February 2018 until seven days after the Paralympic Games, and to use this opportunity to harness sport to foster and encourage concrete action that promotes dialogue and reconciliation during the Games and beyond.

The South Korean delegation to NY included Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Do Jong-hwan, Ambassador to the United Nations Cho Tae-yul and Ambassador for Public Diplomacy Park Enna, who engaged in events promoting the PyeongChang Olympics.

Following the adoption of the resolution, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach spoke of the "special significance" the resolution will carry for the athletes in PyeongChang. "Since North Korea at the moment has basically placed a moratorium on its nuclear weapons and missile programs, we need to be able to preemptively raise issues such as cancelling the South Korea-US joint military exercises", said Koo Kap-woo, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies.

The PyeongChang games will be the first of three consecutive Olympic games to be held in Asia, the resolution notes, "offering possibilities of new partnership in sport and beyond for Republic of Korea, Japan and China".

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