Foreign Minister Heiko Maas today (10 January) issued the following statement on the opening match of the IHF Handball World Championship between Germany and a joint team from South and North Korea:
We all remember the moving scenes as the athletes from South and North Korea entered the stadium together at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang a year ago.
Since then, the Korean peninsula has seen the start of a political thaw which many would have believed impossible. Intensive talks between South and North over the past year have led to the two countries moving closer together in virtually all areas. Sport played a key role in this development from the outset.
When a united “Team Korea” comprising players from South and North meets our national German team this evening in the opening match of the IHF Handball World Championship, it will be a symbol of hope for all of us. Even though I am of course keeping my fingers crossed for the German team, I am also very happy for the Korean team, which is sending a strong signal for peace and reconciliation.