Congratulatory Speech at the opening ceremony of the
South-North unification basketball games
Basketball players from the South and the North, citizens of
Pyeongyang, and all 80 million Korean people,
Today, we have come together to implement the historic Panmunjeom
Declaration. The South and the North met again to become one through
basketball and write another chapter in the moving story of the
PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.
A player who participated in a South-North unification basketball
game 15 years ago returned as a head coach. The South and North Korean
basketball players who met each other for the first time on this
occasion stand before us as one team.
The Ryugyong Jong Ju Yong Gymnasium has a history of inter-Korean
exchange. This gymnasium became a place of harmony again following the
South Korean art troupe’s performance in April.
Citizens of Pyeongyang,
It’s good to see you today, and I would like to thank you for
filling the arena and extending a warm welcome to the players. I would
like to extend warm greetings on behalf of the South Korean people. My
appreciation also goes to all the North Korean people involved in
organizing this event.
The South Korean basketball squad arrived in Pyeongyang after a
one-hour flight from Seoul. The South and the North are one nation
living under the same sky and within close proximity.
Although there had been great challenges along the way, the Korean
people’s yearning for reconciliation and establishment of lasting
peace on the Korean Peninsula prevailed.
The South and the North are moving forward into a new era of peace
and prosperity through the Panmunjeom Declaration agreed between the
leaders on April 27.
Inter-Korean sports exchange is at the forefront of this change. In
particular, the unification basketball games held in line with the
agreements between the leaders will do much to further the expansion
and development of sports exchange, national reconciliation, and unity.
Today, players from North and South Korea, mixed into two teams –
Team Peace and Team Prosperity – will compete against each other and
tomorrow, the South Korean and North Korean teams will play friendly
matches. These basketball games are themselves an important victory
for the South and the North.
These games will also lead to good results in the Asian Games in
August and the unification basketball games to be held this fall.
I would like to ask you to show everything you’ve got and to extend
friendship to all people around the world as well as the Korean people.
To the 12,000 citizens of Pyeongyang here with us,
I would like to ask for your support and cheers so that the people
of the South and the world can hear you loud and strong.
Once again, I would like to congratulate you on holding the
South-North unification basketball games, the North-South basketball
games, along with the 80 million Korean people.