I know and my grandfather knows that it would be difficult to improve inter-Korean relations to a point that allows us to reunify. But I hope that our athletes marching together under one flag and unifying our women’s ice hockey teams can help the two Koreas get along better. Then, we would get more meetings between separated families and I can help my grandfather find out whether or not his family members are alive or dead.
‘I hope no one comes to the Olympics’
Sungwoo Cho, 22, Durham, N.C.
I hope no one comes to the Olympics because it is absolutely humiliating that Koreans cannot represent our own flag and our own anthem. Most of the people who were separated at the signing of the armistice in the 1950s are no longer alive, and the younger generation today only feels hate toward the North. In addition, many young people hate the idea of taking on a financial burden to unite Korea. We do not want to pay huge taxes to rebuild North Korea.
Eun Cho, 46, Boulder, Colo.
North Korea will do something to get attention from the world and do something to get money. Ransom money? Terror attacks?
Sungjin Kun, 25, Seoul
I served 21 months in the South Korean Army and my friends are still serving. We used to think it’s amazing to host the Olympics, but now we feel it’s disastrous. Who could have known our commander-in-chief would be the one that helps our enemy? Our troops’ sacrifice in 1950 is about to become worthless. The White House has to take military action right now, eliminate the North Korean threat, and help us maintain democracy and freedom.
Cha Seung-Hoon, 22, Bundang City, South Korea
I might be jumping ahead of myself here but we may not even be free from the threat of terrorism from North Korea. An extreme incident will surely occur during this Olympics. I hope South Koreans wake up and face the reality.
Jin Sol Kang, 30, Seoul
War is still not over on the Korean Peninsula so that we always live in fear that a war may occur.
‘Nothing more than an opportunity for good optics’
Marie Lee, 25, Seoul
Joint teams between the two Koreas have been fielded. But the North has never stopped developing weapons of mass destruction. To make a long story short, it is a historical lesson that financial aid and joint teams are completely ineffective and useless.
Shawn Son, 45, Austin, Tex.
I believe Olympic cooperation is a political show that North Korea managed to orchestrate by using their puppets in the South. I feel horrible for South Korean players who have to sit on the bench because of North Korean players. I felt nauseous when I learned they decided to use a flag that’s not the South Korean national flag. South Korea removed the flag from their uniforms, but the North Koreans kept theirs. Something is very wrong about this picture.
Peter Kim, 32, Seoul
The current government is misleading the South Korean people to think that “peace for show” is what people want. Young South Koreans do not want to give unconditional benefits to North Korea, which is a terrorist country.
Richard Koh, 38, Seoul
Symbolically, I feel like the joint women’s ice hockey team is a nice gesture, but I have this nagging feeling that this is nothing more than an opportunity for good optics or to drive a wedge between President Moon of South Korea and the U.S.
‘Taken advantage of by Kim Jung-un’
Elena Chang, 52, Los Angeles
The South Korean government has once again allowed itself to be taken advantage of by Kim Jung-un with its beggar’s attitude toward the North. I do believe that the eventual reunification of the Korean Peninsula should occur to maintain the Korean people’s geopolitical independence. But it must not be done in the form of capitulating to North Korea, which has no interest in anybody’s well-being other than Kim and his cohorts.
You Jin Kwon, 26, Seoul
This joint team at the Winter Games means nothing significant to the advancement of the two Korea’s relationship. There is nothing that South Koreans can do to improve the relationship with the North because we don’t have — and will not give — anything that they want at the table. South Korea will always ask for denuclearization, but the North will not give it up at any chance.
Seojun Hong, 29, Seoul
The North is participating in the Olympics to find a respite from the tightening global pressure spearheaded by the U.S. They will ask the South to “return favor” in economic and political resources, knowing the ruling party of the South’s weak spot for the North. They find no embarrassment in such aid because the leading North Korean elites are in fact proud of their military presence, while looking down on the South, which lacks proper self-defense capacity.
‘We are one people’
Talia Yoon, 32, Seoul
It’s tragic that people of shared history, blood, language and culture have been divided through geopolitics of the superpowers. Neither Korea has ever been truly independent since the division, but under the sway of the U.S. and China. It’s long overdue that the two powers recognize the manifest destiny of united Korea. I enthusiastically support the decision by both governments to have our athletes march under one flag and compete as a united hockey team.
Ji-eun Lee, 29, Daegu, South Korea
I can’t forget the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when North and South had a parade together. It was like a dream. We are the same people. Uniting for the Olympics is a good way to try to solve our problems peacefully.
Peter Kim, 43, Seoul
I expect the Winter Games will be successful just as the Summer Olympics were in 1988. The South Korean government will do everything possible to ensure the safety of all participants and make sure that everyone has a good time.
Lee Kyung-min, 33, Incheon, South Korea
Only a while ago, many countries around the world didn’t want to send its delegates to Pyeongchang Olympics because the venues were close to North Korea. But forming a unified team could show the world the Koreas’ will to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula.
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