Ban Ki-moon weighs in on a historic handshake between the Koreas and Trump's 'nuclear button'
Former UN Secretary General hopes diplomatic moment can go beyond 'charm diplomacy'
Against a backdrop of some of the world's fiercest athletic competition, a different sort of sport — the diplomatic variety — is creating a storyline that will extend far beyond the medal ceremonies in Pyeongchang.
"I have seen so many cases of handshakes between and among countries and people in conflict," he told CBC News' Heather Hiscox. "Korea is one of definitely the most serious and most important cases.
"What is more important at this time is how we can keep this small window of dialogue," he added.
It was on Friday at the Games' opening ceremonies that the once-unthinkable happened.
'How soon and how seriously'
With the eyes of the world watching, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo-jong, was all smiles as she shook hands with South Korean president Moon Jae-in.
Kim Yo-jong is already drawing comparisons to Ivanka Trump as the softer, kinder arm of an administration that has steadily been ratcheting up threats about its nuclear might over the past year. North Korea conducted its most powerful nuclear test in September amidst international warnings.
As a child of war myself, I was able to see the tragic consequences.-Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
It's a moment that holds major significance for Ban. The question now, he says, is how far that goodwill will translate politically when the bright lights and pageantry of the Olympics end.
It's a far cry from the last time South Korea hosted an Olympics in 1988. North Korea boycotted the Games and was even seen trying to sabotage the event when, in 1987, a bomb planted by North Korean agents detonated on an passenger plane to Seoul, killing all 115 people on board.
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Ban also said he believes the United States is genuinely committed to a peaceful resolution to the escalating tensions with North Korea, saying the hard line being taken by the Trump administration is to ensure the regime is sent a clear message about what is and isn't acceptable to the international community.
'We need to be very cautious'
Whether Trump calling Kim "rocket man" or making references to a bigger "nuclear button" are a helpful part of that effort, Ban wouldn't comment.
With the spectre of worsening international sanctions, Ban explained, some say the play-nice stance is a way to soothe the country of its dire economic conditions.
"Some people just regard it as charm diplomacy," he said.
He stressed it will be important to keep the momentum alive. Having himself grown up under the shadow of war between a divided Korea, the resolution holds personal meaning for him.
"As a child of war myself, I was able to see the tragic consequences... even though I was young at the time," he said.
"Reunification is a must," he said.