When North and South Korea decided to join together in representing all of Korea, why aren’t they able to work out the other issues they have with one another?
United we Stand
When North and South Korea agreed to walk out together under the same flag at the Winter Olympics in South Korea, it was a rare display of unity between two nations that are not at peace with one another. What is surprising is that Kim Jong-un’s decision comes at a time when there is a lot of tension about North Korea’s nuclear program, but apparently, some things transcend politics. Things like sports and the Olympics in particular. As we have seen from history, when there is a threat to a nation, and that threat is also faced by other nations, even those hostile to it, those nations tend to find common ground and join together to work for a solution or to fight a common enemy. This can even happen to nations that have previously been at war with one another, so when a bigger threat is seen, the nations are more cooperative with one another, but why do sports seem to have the same effect of drawing natural enemies together in a peaceful display of athletic events? And, why did Kim Jong-un allow the North Korean’s women’s hockey team to join together with the South Korea team? And what moved him to allow the women’s hockey team to play together? Is there something about sports that unites us and causes us to overlook our differences? In a worst case scenario like a global threat from some impending disaster, you can be sure the nations would quickly unite to find a solution.
Divided we Fall
It has been 27 years since North and South Korea united for anything, so this cooperation should be seen as something significant, at least on the surface. What other things might Kim Jung-un be thinking is impossible to tell, but at least for now, we see a tiny and brief glimpse of “Korea” as it was…and it’s been a very long time since Korea has been unified on anything. After World War Two, the U.S. and the Soviet Union agreed to accept Japan’s surrender in Korea, and what used to be the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North) and the Republic of Korea (South) was divided at the 38th parallel, with the Soviet Union occupying Korea north of the 38th parallel line, while the United States occupied the country south of the 38th parallel line. That agreement, made in 1945, remains in effect today. It was intended to be temporary as Korea came to terms and agreed upon some kind of unified form of government. When the Cold War struck in 1947, both the political differences between the north and the south, and the military presence of the U.S. and the Soviets, polarized the nations and have served to keep them separate unto today.
How it Happened
The fact that North and South Korea will enter the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang under a single flag is an amazing thing. Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, and Olympic organizers, have been working on this since 2014, and Thomas Bach believes that this agreement was completed in the true Olympic spirit of respect and friendship. Unifying the nations is not be the reason they hold the Olympics, but it’s certainly a byproduct of it, however, the tensions between North Korea and South Korea will almost certainly resume after the Olympics have ended. Then, it will be back to business as usual, because there is little evidence that this situation will change. Undoubtedly the U.S. and Russian influence has not served to unite the two. If anything, it has left these two nations with irreconcilable ideologies. In recent years, their relationship has grown worse. The last attempt to work together for the common good (2000) failed miserably because of the differences of how the government would govern and who would hold power. Kim Jong-un is not about to let go of any power. For him, its totalitarianism or nothing, so the prospect of the two Korea’s being unified looks bleak right now. Even so, to have these two nations cooperate for the Olympics is at least good, however, this didn’t happen overnight. It took years of negotiation, but what appeared to be impossible just a few months ago, happened. Ironically, on the same day that North Korea and South Korea were announcing the Olympics agreement, a North Korean state-run newspaper called on South Korea to stop its military drills with the US.
The Bible teaches us that “God shows no partiality” (Rom 2:11), “For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe” (Deut 10:17), and He “who shows no partiality to princes, nor regards the rich more than the poor, for they are all the work of his hands” (Job 34:19). Since “God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34), neither must we because God “made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place” (Acts 17:27). Someday, there will be no hostilities between the nations as there will be a new heaven and a new earth (Rev 21:1-3), and pain, sorrow, suffering, wars, and death will all come to an end (Rev 21:4). No one’s going to have to negotiate to unite this kingdom. The kingdom already has its subjects, and the King’s already been anointed, but right now we’re living in the “Now, but not yet,” but, it is coming. When? I have no idea, but I do know it is coming…and nothing will ever divide the nations again.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.