South and North Korea face off in hockey… but also come together on the ice

The diplomatic relationship between South
and North Korea continues to worsen, but on Thursday night, those differences were put
to the side for an ice hockey match between the two in the South’s Gangwon-do province. Kwon Jang-ho was there for the historic match
and filed this report. Two Koreas, one rink. In a rare sporting contest between two sides
technically still at war with each other, the South and North Korean women’s ice hockey
teams faced-off at the Gangneung Hockey Center on Thursday. It’s the first time in three years that any
athlete from the North has stepped foot on this side of the inter-Korean border, and
the contest has been hotly anticipated. Another ballistic missile test carried out
by Pyongyang earlier this week once again brought a dark cloud over the relationship,
but that tension couldn’t be found here. “Several thousand spectators have come to
watch this rare inter-Korean clash. Of course there are no supporters who have
come from North Korea, but what’s noticeable is that the crowds are not only cheering for
the home team.” Many in the audience waved symbolic flags
of a unified Korea — as North Korean flags are banned in the South — while singing and
chanting songs of unification. There are many of our supporters, so it felt
right to support North Korea. By cheering them on, it will hopefully give
them strength. We are the same people so we should support
both sides. We are one nation divided and I wanted my
children to understand and experience that first hand. It was a physical and nervy game, but South
Korea came out comfortable three-nothing winners. Although the disappointment was evident on
the faces of the North Korean players, they were gracious in defeat, leaving a memorable
impression on the audience and the South Korean players. “We are the same people, so to have had this
duel here in Korea like this, makes me feel proud and good.” “I was definitely a little more nervous for
this game. I mean like you said, it is North Korea, so
it’s kind of more of a rivalry, so to say. So yea it definitely did feel…prepared a
little different for this game but also trying to treat it like any other.” A coincidence in international sporting schedules
means another North-South clash is set to take place. The South Korean women’s football team is
currently in Pyongyang playing in the Asian Cup qualifiers, and will face the North Korean
team on Friday. It’ll be the first inter-Korean football match
in North Korea for 27 years. Despite the ongoing geopolitical conflict
between the two countries, sport continues to act as a meeting ground where the people
from the two sides can connect. Kwon Jang-ho, Arirang News, Gangneung.

33 thoughts on “South and North Korea face off in hockey… but also come together on the ice

  1. I think they happened to face each other because they were in the same level of international competition. Gangneung happened to be the host for the IIHF Division II Group A World Women's Championship. For this tournament, South Korea finished first, meaning that for 2018, they are promoted to the Division I Group B championship. North Korea came in fourth out of the six teams competing. Also competing at this particular level were Great Britain, the Netherlands, Slovenia, and Australia. Australia came in last, so they got relegated to Division II Group B for 2018.

  2. I think this is really awsome of the South Korea people to instead turn the cheek they welcome them with open arms.

  3. They are right to cheer on both teams. They're separated by border created by both Russia and the US. They're technically one Korea divided by 2 super powers.

  4. Pretty amazing seeing the two countries come together. Hopefully this is all a step in the right direction. Despite the states not liking it.

  5. It must suck for all North Korean athletes to come into South Korea and see how great it is, then return to a miserable life

  6. South Korea president thinks he can make peace, huh? He is losing support from those who voted for him. He misread the public mind.

  7. You mean the average person would rather have peace and friendship than war and conflict? Let the leaders go to the front lines and settle things amongst themselves.

  8. . Look again at that dot. That's here 🌎. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

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    — Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994

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