Posted January. 18, 2018 10:02,
Updated January. 18, 2018 10:48
“The South and North Korea performing together as a team will go down in history,” said President Moon on Wednesday regarding the idea of forming a unified team for women’s ice hockey in the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympics. His comment is seen as a reinforcement of his drive to field a unified team in pursuit of friendlier inter-Korean relations, despite backlash from the sports community.
President Moon visited the National Training Center in Jincheon on the same day. “I believe that a unified woman’s ice hockey team will serve as an excellent beginning to resolve inter-Korean relations for the future,” Moon said. “Whether a team is formed or not, the issue itself could be an excellent opportunity to attract public attention to the ice hockey team, which is relatively less known in Korea.” President’s Moon was accompanied by Culture and Sports Minister Do Jong-hwan and Presidential Chief of Staff Im Jong-seok.
Moon expressed expectations for the PyeongChang Olympics, indicating that the event will become a key turning point to reverse strained inter-Korean ties. “It will be a golden opportunity to thaw frozen North-South relations. The North’s participation itself will attract the world’s attention, helping the Olympics succeed and add economic benefits,” the president said. “I hope that PyeongChang Olympics will become a symbol of reconciliation and peace.”
Despite the president’s comments, however, concerns over a unified woman’s ice hockey team have continued to grow. South Korean women's hockey head coach Sarah Murray has expressed concerns as well, saying, “It will bring relative deprivation to those who have trained hard to join the Olympics only to have their opportunities taken away.”