Sports is acting as a bonding agent between North and South Korea and instead of participating with separate identities in the 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships, they have opted to compete as a single Korea. This has been agreed to by the organizers and is seen as an extension of the ongoing peace initiative of the Koreas.

BBC reports that sports is helping North Korea come closer to the South. It began with the 2018 Winter Olympics held in South Korea in which both the sides had joined to set in motion the peace initiatives. The leaders of the two Koreas have agreed to denuclearize the Korean peninsula and will now unify with table tennis.

An incredible beginning

North Korea is technically at war with South Korea and were to meet in the quarter-final of the 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships. However, they approached the authorities to permit them to compete as a unified team. The organizers of the tournament nodded their assent which is believed to be a first. The decision received a standing ovation from the delegates because the move is another step towards normalizing relations between the two countries that had soured over a period of time.

The combined team will now fight against either Japan or Ukraine in the final four. Incidentally, the two nations have earlier competed as one in the women’s ice hockey event at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Sports is indeed a great leveler and the unified team for table tennis is in keeping with the sentiments expressed by Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in during their meeting.

It is a question of peace

Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea wanted to fulfil his ambitions of acquiring capabilities to make nuclear weapons so that he could enter the nuclear club.

He developed and tested his missiles and threatened to nuke the United States. He had even identified a few probable targets with panic all over the world. The result was global condemnation and imposition of trade sanctions that affected the economy of his country.

He is a changed leader today and his meeting with Moon Jae-in, the President of South Korea, has laid the foundation for a summit with US President Donald Trump to discuss denuclearization.

The objective of all concerned is to bring peace to the region and reunify the two Koreas. Tiny gestures like a joint table tennis team to compete in the world championship will go a long way to cement the bonds of friendship.