By Jack Georgis
Currently happening in Pyeongchang, South Korea is the 2018 Winter Olympics. The games are going as most Winter Olympics go, except for one unusual guest, a delegation from North Korea headed by none other than Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-Jong. But, what does this unlikely presence mean?
North and South Korea have long been fighting and have seen each other as enemies over the past several decades. In recent events, North Korea appeared to be building up its nuclear arsenal showing no signs of potential collaboration with the south. Suddenly, North and South Korea are working together at the Olympics, with North Korea sending Kim Yo-Jong. Yo-Jong’s presence at the Olympics was an unusual sight, as no member of the Kim family had been to their southern counterpart since the Korean War. Many saw this as a signal that North Korea is ready to move on.
But not everyone is pleased with North Korea’s display. Many see North Korea’s goal of unification as a threat; after all they want unification on their terms, not South Korea’s. North Korea has seen unification as the final victory in the Korean War which is still technically going on, as in 1953 it only ended in an armistice. This new role North Korea has is trying to bring more support to there side as they have been primarily viewed in a negative light. For example, hailed by some as an impressive display from the North Korean cheerleaders, many were quick to point out that it is likely they were forced to do this and that it was all staged to be appealing.
After asking several students what they thought about North Korea’s role in the Olympics, many did not know that North Korea was playing a part or indicated that they did not watch the Olympics. If so, then what makes this so significant?
It is impossible to discuss North Korea without mentioning the human rights abuses they have committed such as causing famines and forcing labor, which are only a few of the things this regime has done, much of which is mostly unknown due to the secretive nature of the state. With North Korea building up a nuclear arsenal and trying for reunification, it begs the question, “how much of a threat is North Korea to us?”