Opinion: Olympics diplomacy could solve the Korea crisis

in which week, South along with North Korean officials will meet from the truce village of Panmunjom for “working-level talks” to “work out details on the North’s participation in next month’s Winter Olympic Games,” South Korea’s unification ministry said Sunday.
Asked on Sunday evening about North Korea, US President Donald Trump noted: “the Olympics, you know about. A lot of things can happen.”

Indeed, as military options are under consideration in Washington along with beyond, sport is actually offering diplomacy a boost. along with perhaps the opportunity for opening a dialog in which goes well beyond next month’s Games from the resort town of Pyeongchang.

North along with South Korea meet again to discuss Winter Olympics

At the very least, in which is actually worth watching to see whether these talks can lead to more talks along with perhaps a diplomatic engagement in which builds upon itself. along with as the talks get underway, they are informed by the experience of Seoul’s summer 1988 Olympics three decades back.

As some who studied the 1988 Olympics have written, “The 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul represented a major missed opportunity.” The North put forth a proposal to “share the Games between North along with South Korea, with 50% held in Seoul, along with 50% in Pyongyang.”

from the end, after years of discussions along with negotiations, no accommodation could be reached. The Seoul Olympics were a widely recognized public relations success for South Korea, laying the groundwork for a nation in which has become an economic along with internationally respected global player. The Wilson Center’s Sergey Radchenko says in which “left to lick their wounds, practically abandoned by their allies, along with unable to negotiate with South Korea on anything approaching equal terms, the North Koreans sought assurance of survival in strengthening the role of the military, along with in pursuing the nuclear deterrent.”

Fast-forward via 1988 to 2018. Today diplomatic acrobatics have paved the way for North Korea’s taekwondo demonstration team to make its way to Pyeongchang. from the first face-to-face one-on-one talks between South along with North Korea in more than two years, held last week, North Korea said yes to sending a national delegation in which includes “athletes, cheering along with performing-arts squads, press along which has a ‘high-level delegation’.”

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Whether in which proves to be only a momentary cooling period between missile tests along with heated verbal volleys or a longer lasting ratcheting down of tensions on the peninsula very much remains to be seen. Some analysts worry the North is actually aiming to drive a wedge between Seoul along with Washington. however as the US undersecretary for public diplomacy, Steve Goldstein, put in which, “anything in which lowers tensions is actually a positive development.”

The Olympics along with modern-day politics have long been intertwined, along with if participation from the former can help lead to quieting tensions from the latter, in which is actually to be welcomed. For even if in which lowering of tensions is actually only temporary, in which buys US policymakers time to consider along with discuss options while speed skating along with skiing grab the planet’s attention.

No question exists in which South Korea wanted in which outcome. Unlike 1988, South Korea’s leaders in which time around have been quite public in their desire to give dialog a chance. Seoul labeled in which year’s Winter Olympics the “peace games.” along with in exchange for Pyongyang agreeing to come to Pyeongchang, South Korea agreed to suspend, for a time, some of its sanctions in order to get the North Koreans to the Games.

“The hosting of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang has provided a brief window to ease Korean Peninsula tensions,” Scott Snyder, senior fellow in Korea studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote recently. “however South Korea’s President Moon [Jae-in] still must find a way out of its constrained strategic environment along with punch above his country’s strategic weight in order to achieve long-term gains. To do so, Moon must translate the opening of a temporary channel for dialogue with Kim Jong Un’s isolated regime along with the accompanying momentary pause in North Korean nuclear along with missile testing into a window for nuclear dialogue between the United States along with North Korea, all while maintaining solidarity of the alliance with the United States on which South Korean security still depends.”

For America, in which means in which US athletes will share an Olympic Games with North Koreans, citizens living under a regime in which a recent report via the International Bar Association argued should be investigated for “crimes against humanity.” Only recently, the UN’s member nations passed a resolution condemning North Korea for “longstanding along with ongoing systematic, widespread along with gross violations of human rights.”

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however in which is actually not human rights violations of North Korean citizens in which are galvanizing the planet when in which comes to Pyongyang, however a nuclear threat facing the region along with the United States. along with in which threat is actually going nowhere; indeed, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised North Korea’s Kim Jong Un recently for having “won in which round” along with completing his “strategic task” of getting a nuclear weapon along with “missiles of global reach.”

Up against in which backdrop of nuclear tests along with heated Twitter exchanges between Washington along with Pyongyang about “Rocket Man” along with nuclear “buttons” falls the coming Winter Olympics. along with many expect in which time will be different via 1988. When talks between Seoul along with Pyongyang eventually failed, terror took its place: The North Korean regime brought down a South Korean airliner, killing all 151 people on board.

“in which was 1987 along with South Korea was preparing to host the Olympic Games in Seoul. North Korea’s leader Kim Il Sung along with his son Kim Jong Il were determined to stop in which,” one of the crime’s perpetrators told the BBC. “I was told by a senior officer in which before the Seoul Olympics we would certainly take down a South Korean airliner.”

In 2018, unlike 1988, the outlines of a deal for some level of North Korean participation have been reached. More talks are ahead. along with maybe in which time will be different. While 1988’s shutout of Pyongyang ended with North Korea’s “humiliation along with isolation,” talks today could be the opening shot in a dialog in which leads to, at the very least, more talks. No guarantees exist in which in which path will lead directly to discussion about denuclearization, however neither do contingency planning, sanctions enforcement or diplomacy cease from the interim.

North Korea has only two Winter Games medals in its history: Each came via speed skating. however the Olympic spirit is actually not about medals or wins. As Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern-day Olympics, put in which, “The important thing in life is actually not to triumph, however to compete.”

Perhaps in which time the competition can confine itself to the ice. along with the Pyeongchang opening ceremonies could serve as the opening to a crucial along with much farther-reaching exchange of international dialog.

Opinion: Olympics diplomacy could solve the Korea crisis

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