VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis hailed on Wednesday the decision to have athletes from both North and South Korea march under the same flag at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics as a sign of hope and peaceful resolution to conflict.
The pope made his comments as part of the weekly general audience ahead of the games, which start Friday and would see competitors from 92 countries coming together in the South Korean city of PyeongChang.
“The traditional Olympic truce acquires special importance this year,” the pope said, as it would see athletes from the North and South marching “together, under the same flag” and competing “as one team.”
The Argentine pontiff said that this brought hope to the world that conflicts could be resolved “through dialogue and reciprocal respect.”
Francis said he hoped the games would be a big celebration of friendship and of sports.
The Winter Olympics take place from Feb. 9-25.