The U.N. General Assembly on Monday endorsed a resolution calling on nations of the world to uphold an Olympic Truce for the time of next year's Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang, and foster peace and tolerance on the Korean Peninsula and beyond.
Brought forward by South Korea, the resolution, "Building a peaceful and better world through sport and Olympic ideal," was approved by consensus and was co-sponsored by 157 nations.
"I firmly believe the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will help spread the message of peace through one of the few languages that has the power to unite people around the world: the graceful and universal language of sport," said South Korea's Olympic gold medalist, Kim Yuna. She spoke at the General Assembly hall before the measure was overwhelmingly endorsed by acclamation.
At the heart of the resolution, which has been adopted every two years since 1993, is the call for a respite from conflict and strife from one week before the Olympic Games until seven days after.
The 23rd Olympic Winter Games will take place in Pyeongchang from February 9-25 and the 12th Paralympic Winter Games will be held from March 9-18.
The resolution this year recalls that Pyeongchang 2018 marks the first of three consecutive Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in Asia -- starting with South Korea in 2018. This will be followed by summer games in Tokyo in 2020 and then the winter games in Beijing two years later.
According to the resolution, the 2018 games "will be a meaningful opportunity to foster an atmosphere of peace, development, tolerance and understanding on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia."
The truce comes at a tense time after North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test in September -- its most powerful to date --and has carried out a spate of tests of ballistic missiles, some of which have flown over Japan, this year.
Looking ahead to the 2020 Olympics, Japan's Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Toshiya Hoshino said they were an opportunity to show the world how Japan has transformed itself since the 1964 Olympics.
The games, he said, will also serve to reinvigorate a region hard hit by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami disaster.
"We hope that the Tokyo 2020 Games will enable Japan to promote transformative changes, providing an opportunity to bring hope and dreams to the areas affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster," Hoshino said.