The start of 2018 witnessed Kim Jong-un, the supreme leader of North Korea, declaring his intentions to lower military tensions between North and South Korea and work towards the unification, which he deemed as the prime hurdle towards the development of the two nations. This was followed by a diplomatic breakthrough where, on 2nd January , South Korea invited North Korea to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Today, twelve participants from the women ice hockey team with the official permits entered South Korea to be trained and to play under the same unified flag with South Korea as joint participation. This team of twelve players would be a part of the twenty three player team which will represent Korea according to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Although this arrangement irked some South Koreans( 70% South Koreans against the movement according to popular poll) as it meant time on the ice rink for the home team, South Korean team coach Sarah Murray believed that they should accept the deal because it is something “bigger than themselves” at this moment.
The North Korean state media broadcasted that all Koreans home and abroad should work towards unification without seeking the help of other countries and try to promote cooperation and active communication between the two nations in the current backdrop of rising pressure against its Missile and nuclear programs.
The 2014 BBC World Service Poll, which surveyed the inclination towards unification of South Koreans, 3% of South Koreans viewed North Korea’s influence positively and 91% gave a negative reaction. However, a 2014 government-funded survey found that only 13% of South Koreans perceived North Korea as a negative influence while 58% of South Koreans believed that they should cooperate with North Korea for development and progress.
What happens and ahead and whether this will prove as a successful step towards unification will remain a matter of speculation for a while.