Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bach for Nobel peace prize? No ‘formal discussion’, says IOC




Bach for Nobel peace prize? No ‘formal discussion’, says IOC

(At back) South Korean president Moon Jae-in (second left), IOC President Thomas Bach (centre), North Korea’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam (second right) and Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-jong (right) meet Unified Korea ice hockey players at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games on February 10. AFP
(At back) South Korean president Moon Jae-in (second left), IOC President Thomas Bach (centre), North Korea’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam (second right) and Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-jong (right) meet Unified Korea ice hockey players at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games on February 10. AFP

Bach for Nobel peace prize? No ‘formal discussion’, says IOC

Olympic officials played down a suggestion that the unified Korean ice hockey team could be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize today and said there had been “no formal discussion” about proposing IOC chief Thomas Bach for the honour.

Mark Adams, spokesman for the International Olympic Committee, said there had been “no consideration whatsoever” within the body of nominating the joint Korean team, following a suggestion by American IOC member Angela Ruggiero.

“From an IOC administrative level there’s been no consideration whatsoever of this. Obviously members are able to have their own personal views . . . but there’s been no discussion,” he said.

When asked if Bach should be proposed for the prize, after helping broker North Korea’s attendance, Adams said: “There’s no formal discussion yet at all.”

Bach is scheduled to visit North Korea after the Games, where their athletes marched together with South Korea at the opening ceremony. The two Koreas also formed their first unified Olympic team in the women’s ice hockey.

North Korea’s participation has triggered a burst of reconciliation with South Korea, including a visit by Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-jong and an invitation to Pyongyang for South Korean leader Moon Jae-in.

Ruggiero, who is head of the IOC athletes commission and a former Olympic ice hockey gold medallist, said it was a personal opinion that the Korean team should be nominated.

“I have heard a lot of support from other members just saying this is symbolic, this is what the Olympics is all about,” she said.

“It’s not about an individual or sport or country. I’m happy that it’s resonated that way and it’s starting the conversation and encouraged to have that dialogue with other members and all stakeholders for that matter.”

Despite the rapid warming of ties – which follows months of missile tests and threats of war – some South Koreans are sceptical and US Vice President Mike Pence warned the North was trying to “hijack” the Games.

In an interview on Monday, Bach dismissed fears North Korea was using the Games for political purposes, calling their participation a purely sporting matter.

“This is about sport and this the IOC made very clear,” Bach said. “This is about the role of sport to build bridges, to open doors, and nothing more.”

At the joint team’s opening match – an 8-0 thrashing by Switzerland – Bach sat with Moon to his right and the North Korean delegation to his left, and addressed the players afterwards.

“You’ve given everything, you’ve fought well and tomorrow you’ll come to understand the full importance and significance of this,” Adams quoted Bach as telling the team.

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Cambodia at ‘most critical moment’, Hun Sen warns

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia has led the country to the “most critical moment” that warranted urgent, large-scale operations to contain the pandemic. Hun Sen, who confirmed the first local transmission on November 28, said the source of

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there