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Millennium Post

Sports to world peace!

Sports to world peace!
When the entire North Korean delegation stepped across the demilitarised zone to meet their South Korean counterparts on Tuesday, the smiles from both sides seemed spontaneous. Tensions that had been simmering and had virtually grown to a near War situation seemed to have suddenly dissipated. That, perhaps, is what sports can do when other initiatives fail. Indeed, the two sides had this very cordial meeting to work out the modalities of North Korea's participation in the forthcoming Winter Olympics. A very big delegation is expected to be sent by Pyongyang comprising senior members of the delegation, other officials, coaches, the athletes themselves and, believe it or not, even supporters. Quite an interesting mix, that. The North Korean Olympic team is expected to walk with the South Korean representatives at the Opening Ceremony. All that was unimaginable until the other day. Now, starting from Washington to London, all the experts, including former and present Ambassadors, have been deliberating on the implications of this sudden thaw preceding the Winter Olympics. Among other things, they have been wondering whether this would be a new beginning for lasting peace sans tensions. Most of them, including Seoul's Ambassador to London, have been brimming with enthusiasm and optimism. That is understandable. Seoul does have a good reason to heave a sigh of relief. But if the Winter Olympics seem to be an icebreaker for peace, let Washington realise that it still has reason to nurse apprehensions and grave ones at that. While taking questions from the media, the chief of the North Korean delegation made it clear that as far as the nuclear issue was concerned, they have their hydrogen bomb, atomic bombs, ICBMs and all their nuclear devices trained at the United States. Today, more than ever before they were in a position to strike the American mainland anytime. The U.S. was their main enemy, he emphasised, and was quick to explain that their neighbor, South Korea, had no concerns. Western analysts were quick to point out that North Korea was a pariah State without even an NPT. But some other Pentagon officials admitted that they had underestimated Pyongyang's nuclear capability, the speed at which it had developed the technology and that it now posed a genuine threat to the United States. That would not make the maverick U.S. President particularly happy. Known for his impulsive ways and statements much like his North Korean counterpart, it can only be hoped that he does not try and show the might of his nuclear arsenal in any way, whatever the provocation. One signal has been sent to him very clearly. That there was no alternative to negotiations and dialogue. He would rise in World stature if he seized the opportunity and took the initiative in beginning a new phase of negotiations. One form of dialogue has already started to clear the way for Olympic participation for North Korea. That ought to be taken forward gradually to ensure lasting peace for not just the Korean peninsula but the entire world. No nation or region would want or can afford the consequences of a nuclear attack.Both Pyongyang and Washington must come to terms with this plain truth. A peace-loving world is waiting with bated breath.
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