9 January 2018

Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

North Korea Attending Olympics

Having international discussions for the sake of having international discussions is completely pointless. The Middle East peace process is evidence of this. However, when there is a possibility that talks could lead somewhere, diplomats owe it to the world to sit down for a chat. So, the discussions yesterday between North and South Korea are obligatory. North Korea, as a result of these talks, will participate in the Winter Olympic Games next month in South Korea. Sporting events are easy, of course, but they can lead to more. In the Korean Peninsula, they need to do so, and the promise to talk about military matters is a hopeful sign.

The North Korean regime has said it will send a large delegation to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. The South will work on arrangements to allow the visitors to attend despite UN sanctions. Bloomberg stated that South Korea's Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung said the North's delegation would include "officials, athletes, a cheering squad, art performers, observers, martial artists and reporters to the Games."

The news agency also reported , "South Korea's proposal included:

  • Reunions of families divided by the Korean War during the upcoming Lunar New Year
  • Resumption of military dialogue
  • Stopping actions that create tensions on the peninsula
  • North Korea sending as big a delegation as possible to the Paralympics
  • Restarting talks on denuclearization."

So, what do both sides really hope to gain? "The expectations game will be important: the South will want to make concrete progress on the logistical issues, and preserve momentum for inter-Korean dialogue going forward," Mason Richey, an associate professor at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, told Bloomberg. "The North will want to make progress on Olympics participation, but will also probe for opportunities to drive the thin end of the wedge into" U.S.-South Korea relations, he said.

The talks will drag on and on, of course. That's how these things work. Alternatively, they could collapse completely the moment the Olympic flame is extinguished. Nevertheless, easing tensions on the Peninsula would be good for everyone. It's worth a try.

© Copyright 2018 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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