GANGNEUNG, South Korea, March 7 (Korea Bizwire) – Oh Joon, former South Korean Ambassador to the United Nations, said Wednesday he believes North Korea’s participation in the PyeongChang Winter Paralympics can be an opportunity to improve the rights of disabled people.
Oh, who served as South Korean representative to the U.N. from 2013 to 2016, made his remarks at the Korea Paralympic Committee International Sports Forum in Gangneung, Gangwon Province before beginning a discussion titled “Can the IPC and UN Dream Together for a Better Future?”
North Korea will make its Winter Paralympics debut in South Korea after sending a 24-member delegation to PyeongChang. The PyeongChang Paralympics will run from Friday to March 18.
“North Korea sending athletes and a delegation for sports events for the disabled is a positive sign in terms of the rights for people with impairments,” Oh said. “North Korea’s participation in both the Olympics and the Paralympics contributed easing tensions and seeking reconciliation (on the Korean Peninsula) through sports.”
While working with the U.N., Oh served as the President of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Oh said North Korea joined the CRPD in 2016 while he was serving in the job.
Oh was named one of the honorary ambassadors for the PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Gamess in January. The 62-year-old said he hopes the PyeongChang Paralympics will be as successful as the Olympic Games, which were held between Feb. 9 and 25.
“I hope the Paralympics become more than a sports competition,” he said. “I hope the Paralympics will be a stage for promoting the equal participation of disabled people in our society.”