How the Olympics affects international affairs

Suad Mohamed, Editorials Editor

In his New Year’s Day speech, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un put forward the idea of talking to South Korean leader Moon Jae-In regarding North Korea’s participation in the Olympic Games.
By Jan. 17, Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, announced that she would be attending the games.
It was also announced that North Korea would be sending athletes to form a unified women’s hockey team, and that they would enter with the Korean Unification Flag for the opening ceremony.
Many were surprised, as the two leaders hadn’t talked in over two years.
In fact, many countries planning on participating in the games raised concerns last year regarding safety.
Many were worried that conflicts between the two nations and North Korea’s missile testing could compromise the safety of athletes.
The French Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports even threatened that France would pull out of the games. Other nations, like Austria and Germany soon followed suit.
Although it has been reported that the athletes are staying in separate buildings, the union along with Yo Jong’s presence is proof of how the games, and other forms globalization can alter the relationships between nations.
The games create a setting where nations that otherwise wouldn’t interact are forced to.
It’s likely that had it not been for the Games, Jong Un and Jae-In would have continued the silence between the two nations.
The host country can also use the Olympics as a type of soft power, meaning that they can spread their culture and values without force.
An example of this was seen in the 1936 Summer Olympics, which were held in Berlin, Germany.
The Nazi regime used the games that year to spread their beliefs like anti-semitism past their borders.
Although there’s been some protest and backlash, most people believe that only good can come from the creation of the joint team anf Yo Jong’s desire to visit.
If the two nations are able to overcome their differences and participate in sports competitions together, who’s to say that they can’t remove the rest of the tension?