Some South Korean Athletes 'Furious' With Idea Of Joint Korean Olympic Teams
While Seoul "forges ahead with plans to use the upcoming Winter Olympics to showcase inter-Korean unity," some South Korean athletes are "furious" at proposals to form joint teams with North Koreans, "highlighting a broader lack of enthusiasm for some of the government’s peace-making plans," according to Yang & Smith of REUTERS. The backlash "may trip up Seoul’s plans" to use the sporting event to improve bilateral ties after "a year of high tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs." South Korea’s women’s ice hockey team "was the first to be singled out for possible integration with North Koreans." That came "as a shock to team members, who had just returned to South Korea" last Friday after training in the U.S. for the past three weeks, a senior official with the Korea Ice Hockey Association said. The official added, "They were just furious and found the idea absurd." More than 70% of South Koreans "oppose forming a joint team with the North," according to a Jan. 11 survey released by the office of the South’s National Assembly Speaker and TV network SBS. More than 80%, however, said that they "welcomed the North’s participation in general" (REUTERS, 1/16).