Thirty years after the Seoul Olympic Games, the organization and events of which impressed the entire world, the 23rd Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held in PyeongChang, Korea, in February 2018.
The PyeongChang Olympic Games will build on what was founded three decades ago: it will cultivate the true values of the Olympic movement and provide an opportunity, once again, to show the world the path Korea has travelled over the past three decades.
With less than 100 days until the opening of the 2018 games in PyeongChang, it is the time to shed light upon the status of the Korean Peninsula in addition to the efforts of the Korean government to manage the situation.
The 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul provided the Korean people with powerful lessons, not only about the Olympic values, but also about the hope for a better future.
Both the government and people of Korea have been striving to ensure the success of these international sporting events. As part of such efforts, PyeongChang has annually hosted The Dream Programme since 2004, which introduces winter sports to young people who do not have the opportunity to experience winter weather and sports in their countries. To date, over 1,500 young people from 75 countries have participated in this program, and, incredibly, 166 of them have gone on to compete in international winter sporting events.
As a directly-related party to Korean Peninsula issues, the Korean government is doing its utmost to ensure the success of this global event. It remains firm in responding to the recent provocations posed by North Korea’s nuclear program, and is keen to maintain close cooperation with the key members of the international community in order to draw North Korea to the dialogue table and stop its reckless attempts. Recognizing this, Korea thanks the international community, including Egypt, for taking a firm stance against North Korea. It is my heartfelt hope -- and certainly the hope of the Korean government and people -- that such endeavors will pay off in the near future.
Thanks to the aforementioned efforts, the security situation on the peninsula has been managed in a stable manner and is also supported by the assessment of major economic institutions. When the IMF’s Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, met with Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha last September, Director Lagarde emphasized that the Korean economy will show robust growth in spite of North Korea’s provocations. In this year’s World Economic Outlook, released early in November, the IMF revised its projection of economic growth from 2.7% to 3%. This positive outlook would not have been possible without the positive steps taken in regards to the security situation on the Korean Peninsula.
The Korean government and people are all working around the clock to contribute to the success of PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic “Games of Peace," which will serve as an opportunity to ease tensions on the peninsula and to create a favorable environment for inter-Korean dialogue, exchange, and cooperation that, in turn, will contribute to promoting world peace.
Last but not least, continued international interest and support can only help the PyeongChang Olympic Games to be an effective and sufficient instrument to promote peace, not only in the Korean Peninsula but also around the world.
The writer is the Charge d’affaires of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Cairo.