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United Nations urges countries to stop fighting during winter Olympics

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Dave Ryding

"In less than 90 days from now, the entire world will enjoy the most spectacular Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang on the Korean Peninsula", Lee Hee-beom, chief of the PyeongChang Organizing Committee, told the assembly. This resolution, which Moon submitted during a meeting with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach in September, was largely drafted by the South Korean government and was co-sponsored by more than 140 countries, including the US, China, Japan and Russian Federation.

Today the United Nations General Assembly passed the truce by acclamation, continuing an Olympic tradition.

The resolution was adopted with a bang of the gavel by Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak on Monday to loud applause.

The truce calls for the "safe passage" of athletes and officials to the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics and for member states to adopt Olympic values of promoting peace.

"I firmly believe that PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Games will help spread the message of peace through one of the few languages that has the power to unite people around the world, sport", Kim Yu Na said in her speech. Attention is turning to South Korean President Moon Jae-in's plan to take the truce as an opportunity to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula and engineer a turning point in the North Korean nuclear crisis.

In this photo captured from official UN footage, former South Korean figure skating champion Kim Yu-na addresses the UN General Assembly in NY on November 13, 2017.

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The resolution calls for the Olympic Truce to be respected from seven days before the start of the Olympic Games in February 2018 until seven days after the Paralympic Games.

South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yo has assured this year's Olympics will be a success.

The resolution urges countries to give safe passage to all players, officers and officials participating in the Olympics, to have safe access and allow them to participate at the Games, as well as mobilising youth around the world for peace. With inter-Korean relations at a high point that summer, the North and South Korean Olympic delegations made a joint entrance to Stadium Australia. "Indeed PyeongChang represents the most honest efforts to cross borders between south and north and foster a peaceful environment". However, in 2000 and 2004 North and South Korea jointly marched into the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. It simply said "Korea".

President Moon Jae-in in a Berlin address in July called for the participation of North Korea in the PyeongChang Olympics and urged Pyongyang "to utilize these series of precious events held in Asia as an opportunity for building peace on the Korean Peninsula, in Northeast Asia, and the world".

President Moon Jae-in shakes hands with figure skaters following the close of their performance at the 18th conference of the National Unification Advisory Council at the Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangwon Province on October 31.

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