Historic Handshake: North and South Korea At The Winter Olympics

During the opening ceremony of the twenty-third Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang County, South Korea, political enemies seem to have set aside their differences for the time being.

South Korean president Moon Jae In greeted and shook hands with the delegate from North Korea Kim Yo Jong, who is the Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea and the younger sister of the North’s leader Kim Jong Un.

Just a year ago, this greeting would have been considered unthinkable. However, on Feb. 8, President Moon and Kim Yo Jong were photographed with smiles on their faces grasping hands.

Kim Yo Jong’s visit to Pyeongchang is astounding in itself as it marks the first time any member of the Kim dynasty has traveled to South Korea since the end of the Korean War seven decades ago in 1953.

According to CNN, there is a “good chance” that President Moon will be invited to North Korea later in the year by Kim Yo Jong. If this does happen it will be a significant step in Korean and world politics since it has been over a decade since any South Korean president has visited North Korea.

President Moon said that he wanted to use this year’s Winter Olympics as a way to engage with North Korea and show the that old-fashioned diplomacy does still play a role in the political climate of the world today. President Moon also reportedly said he hoped the start of the 2018 Winter Olympics would be remembered as the “day peace began”.

On the surface, the Winter Olympics shows amending of the diplomacy between North and South Korea. The world will have to wait and see if this will carry on once the last of the medals have been awarded and the torch is passed to the next hosting country.


Story By
Carlee Jo Blumenthal

Photo Courtesy of The Washington Post