UN General Assembly adopts Olympic Truce for PyeongChang 2018

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Pyeongchang 2018 President Lee Hee-boem and Vancouver 2010 ladies figure skating gold medallist Kim Yuna, an ambassador for the Games, spoke at the Assembly.

In a strong sign of confidence of the Member States of the United Nations in the upcoming Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, the UN General Assembly today adopted the resolution "Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic Ideal" by consensus.

In his remarks, the President of the United Nations General Assembly H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák said: "The Olympic Games and the United Nations aspire to the same ideal". The full draft resolution can be found here. The Olympic Truce, which traces back to the Ekecheiria (a truce held during the Olympics in ancient Greece), has been an Olympic tradition since it passed the UN General Assembly in October 1993 and took force during the Lillehammer Winter Olympics the next year. With the Olympic Truce resolution, the United Nation General Assembly is creating the conditions for all athletes to compete in peace. Reflecting the special circumstances of the Korean Peninsula - namely, continuing concerns about a military clash - the Olympic Truce resolution calls for "safe passage, access and participation for athletes and relevant persons at the Games".

Ha Ji-min, Asian Games gold medalist in sailing, carries the Olympic flame for the 2018 PyeongChang Games as part of the torch relay in Busan on November 6, 2017. 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.

"I firmly believe that PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Games will help spread the message of peace through one of the few languages that has the power to unite people around the world, sport", Kim Yu Na said in her speech.

The General Assembly revived the tradition in 1993 and has adopted resolutions before all Olympics since then, but member states involved in conflicts have often ignored the call for a truce. "Indeed PyeongChang represents the most honest efforts to cross borders between south and north and foster a peaceful environment". But other factors are the possibility of North Korea carrying out an additional provocation before the Olympics and the state of North Korea-US relations. Two North Korean figure skaters have already qualified for the Games, but it is not known if they will compete. "North Korea responded with extreme sensitivity to the Seoul Olympics in 1988, which it regarded as an indicator of rivalry between the two governments".

Kim said she experienced "the same spirit and power" as a 10-year-old watching the South Korean and North Korean delegations jointly enter the arena at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. "In our fragile world, polarization and mistrust are growing".

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. "They never erect walls".