The upcoming Winter Olympics hosted by South Korea will see the two Koreas marching under a “Unified Flag.” But is this really that good of news even if it is making headlines?
South Korea says it hopes a partnership in sports could contribute to a political thaw after years of high tensions. But what’s really behind this gesture? Could it be that the prospect of war over the North’s nuclear and missile tests that have stirred anger in the United States?
The Games start on Feb. 9 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and in addition to walking under one unified flag the women’s ice-hockey squad will be the first combined Korean team for the Olympics.
The North plans to send 230 supporters to the Olympics, and the two sides have agreed to cheer each other’s athletes together. This unified front is a far cry from the bombastic rhetoric of possible war from Kim Jong-un towards the rest of the world.
President Donald Trump has threatened to release Kim Jong-un with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Mr. Kim has called Mr. Trump a lunatic. A lunatic that’s willing to attack North Korea which apparently was enough to get the North to join the Winter Olympics.
Aside from the 230 cheerleaders, the North is also sending 140 orchestral musicians and 30 taekwondo athletes. According to BBC News, they’ve also agreed to send a smaller number in March to the Paralympics.
If history is any indication of peace between the two sides with an end to the nuclear missile race, then don’t hold your breath. The South has already tried this previously. In the 1960s, the South proposed joint teams for international athletic events. But being friendly in sports diplomacy proved to not be long-lasting. Technically, the two Koreas have been at war since the 1950-53 Korean War truce.
The two Koreas negotiated sharing some of the 1988 Seoul Olympics, but the talks collapsed. The North then bombed a South Korean passenger jet in 1987 in an attempt to disrupt the games.
So how is the White House handling this news? They see it with one goal in mind, the North denuclearize and of course Mr. Kim will not likely be open to that.
“We see this as an opportunity for the regime to see the value of ending its international isolation by denuclearization. We are still very much focused and hope that happens,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders