Today’s announcement that North Korea will participate in this year’s Winter Olympic Games, held in PyeongChang, South Korea is welcome news. This represents an improvement in relations between North Korea and the rest of the world. Many were concerned about the world’s athletes participating so close to what had seemed to be a hostile North Korea.
Tensions between the United States and North Korea have unfortunately heightened as a result of the current administration’s undiplomatic actions.
Bear Creek Friends meeting has been working to see if another visit from a North Korean delegation could happen, in hopes of using farm diplomacy to reduce tensions. Nikita Khrushchev’s acceptance of an invitation from the Des Moines Register to visit Iowa reduced tensions between Russia and the United States in the 1950’s.
In 2001 a North Korean agricultural delegation visited the farm of Ellis and Win Standing, and had a pot luck dinner at the Bear Creek Meetinghouse. Bear Creek Friends are hoping a return visit might be possible. The Des Moines Register published the following open letter:
Jon Krieg from the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in Des Moines put us in touch with Dan Jasper, Asia Public Education and Advocacy Coordinator for AFSC. AFSC currently has an agricultural program in North Korea affecting over 70,000 farmers. Dan is helping us explore the possibilities of another North Korean visit to Iowa. AFSC has a number of resources related to North Korea.
The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) also has a number of good articles about North Korea. Friends are encouraged to take advantage of the resources offered there.
The success of the Olympic ideal, again, to promote world peace, is a surprising but welcome path to reduce tensions between North Korea and the rest of the world. I hope our government will build on this opportunity.