chapter  9
15 Pages

The Politics of Sport and Identity in North Korea

ByUdo Merkel

Introduction Korea’s1 existence in the twentieth century has largely been shaped by outside forces and global tensions. Japan’s ruthless colonialism, at the beginning of the twentieth century, led to the annexation of the Korean peninsula and suppression of its people from 1910 to 1945. At the end of the Second World War, Soviet and American troops ended Japanese rule and occupied the country. After unification talks failed, the cold warrivals backed the formation of governments sympathetic to their respective leaders and ideologies, which resulted in the current political division and the existence of the two Korean states: the Republic of Korea (ROK) in the south, founded on August 15, 1948, hosting a population of 48 million, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the north, established three weeks later on September 9, 1948, with 23 million people. Shortly after the two superpowers withdrew most of their armed forces, North Korea invaded the South, in 1950, in order to unify the country.2 A truce ended the Korean War three years later. The

rt and Service Management, University of Brighton, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN, UK

establishment of a Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), along the thirty-eighth parallel, has divided the two countries since then.3