United Nations urges countries to stop conflicts during winter Olympics

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In a consensus action that included North Korea and South Korea, the United Nations General Assembly on Monday adopted a resolution asking all nations to observe an "Olympic truce" during the 2018 Winter Games in February.

PyeongChang 2018 President Hee Beom Lee presented the truce before the General Assembly, and South Korean gold medalist Kim Yu Na spoke of the "role of sport and the Olympic ideal in promoting peace". "It says that, no matter what is going on in state capitals around the world, people will always have a space in which to engage and connect".

"Just as the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul contributed to the dismantling of the eastern and western camps and the Cold War era, the Government could promote peace on the Korean peninsula through the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and Paralympics, and further promote peace and cooperation on the Korean Peninsula".

The resolution urges countries to give safe passage to all players, officers and officials participating in the Olympics, to have safe access and allow them to participate at the Games, as well as mobilising youth around the world for peace.

It also "urges member states to observe the Olympic Truce individually and collectively, within the framework of the Charter of the United Nations", throughout the period running from seven days before the start of the Olympic Games until seven days after the end of the Paralympic Games. "The Olympic Games demonstrate that our values of a shared humanity are stronger than all the forces that want to divide us".

In a speech before the assembly, Kim Yu-na, a former South Korean figure skating champion and honorary ambassador to the PyeongChang games, touted the Olympic spirit.

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"Today, I hope to witness this power again", she continued.

The resolution recalls the ancient Greek tradition of "ekecheiria", which called for a cessation of hostilities to encourage a peaceful environment, ensure safe passage and participation of athletes in the ancient Olympics. "Indeed PyeongChang represents the most honest efforts to cross borders between south and north and foster a peaceful environment".

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". Two others are the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

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.

It was claimed last month that North Korea had expressed their intention to compete at the Winter Paralympic Games, which would require them to be given wildcard entries.

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.

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