IOC President Searches for Olympic Peace

(ATR) Thomas Bach works the corridors and chambers of the United Nations.

(ATR) IOC President Thomas Bach is on a peace mission to the United Nations. For the past two days he’s been prowling the corridors and galleries of the U.N. in New York City as world leaders and diplomats convene for the annual general assembly.

Bach is laying some of the groundwork needed to win passage of an Olympic Truce resolution ahead of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. While the resolution has become a routine lately every two years when the Olympics approach, arguably the situation for PyeongChang may be the most pressing of any recent Olympics.

Bach was in the gallery Tuesday to hear U.S. President Donald Trump deliver bellicose warnings to North Korea, just 100km from the Olympic venues in PyeongChang.

"The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea," said the U.S. President.

Bach had the chance to discuss the implications of the Trump speech later in the day in a meeting with Korean President Jae In Moon.Elected in May, Moon thinks the Winter Olympics will be a force for peace between North and South. He is encouraging participation of North Korean athletes in PyeongChang and the IOC President has indicated that he welcomes steps to award some North Korean athletes wildcard qualifications.

"We are well aware of the concerns the IOC and the whole world have regarding the Korean peninsula," Moon was quoted as saying to Bach at the New York meeting by an official.

"A successful hosting of the PyeongChang Games would erase worries over security and show the world regional peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula."

Bach is to meet Wednesday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. With North Korean missile tests flying over Japanese territory, Abe too would be hoping the coming Winter Olympics decrease the threat to his nation.

The Olympic Truce resolution is making its way through the delegations of the U.N. and will not come up for ratification until November. Bach has said he plans to return to the U.N. for that vote to speak on behalf of the proposal.

Along with Bach, the IOC delegation at the U.N. includes IOC member in Italy Mario Pescante, head of the IOC International Relations Commission, Director General Christophe DeKepper and spokesman Mark Adams.

French President Emmanuel Macron is also on the schedule for a meeting with the IOC President. On Thursday, the two men will travel together to France where they will land in Marseille to commemorate the awarding of the 2024 Olympics to Paris. From Marseilles, the venue for sailing and preliminary football matches, Bach, Macron and Paris Mayor Anne Hildalgo head to Paris to salute the newly named 2024 host city. Bach visited Los Angeles Sunday and Monday this week to recognize that city’s selection by the IOC to hold the 2028 Summer Games.

Bach was to end his visit to the U.S. with a reception and dinner hosted by the government of Korea Wednesday. Bach, however left New York City that evening and did not attend.

The medals for the 2018 Winter Olympics were unveiled in a simultaneous ceremony in Seoul..

Let there be no doubt about the hope from the government that these first Winter Olympics in South Korea will calm the rising nuclear tensions on the peninsula. The invitation for the soiree Manhattan reads: "Celebrating the Olympic Winter Games for Peace".

Written and reported in New York City by Ed Hula.

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