North Korea Goes to the Olympics

What is the real reason for the temporary reconciliation of the two Koreas?

The entire world was surprised to see North Korea's policy reversal toward its southern neighbor. Kim Jong-un suddenly changed his traditionally hostile rhetoric to calls for peace and cooperation. North and South Korea have already agreed to participate together at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and form a joint women's hockey team. While the office of South Korean president Moon Jae-in considers the agreements reached as a significant breakthrough in the process of normalization of relations with its northern neighbor, the South Korean people’s mood cannot be called enthusiastic.

"We understand that many citizens who were worried about the North Korean missile tests, feel bewildered because of a sudden change in mood," the office of South Korean President Moon Jae-in stated.

However, such words cannot convince the majority of South Korean citizens. According to polls, 73% of South Koreans do not support the idea of a joint hockey team. The opponents of this decision indicate that the athletes most likely will not have time to properly prepare for the performance in the new team configuration and therefore will not be able to play well. This is unfair to the hockey players, who had been preparing for a long time, and they surely don’t want to lose in the name of bilateral relations.

Many opponents of reestablishment of relations decided to publicly express their displeasure. On January 22, a wave of protests against the overtures toward the North Korean dictatorial regime swept through the capital of South Korea. Members of the ultra-right Party of Korean Patriots went so far as to burn a portrait of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the streets of Seoul. One of the protest organizers said that "the Pyeongchang Olympics turns into Pyongyang, bearing recognition to the North Korean regime and its nuclear program." South Koreans believe that only Pyongyang will benefit from the upcoming games.

But at the moment, the world community warmly welcomes North Korea to the Olympic movement.

Today, everyone is happy due to the decrease of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, but sooner or later the U.S. and South Korea will understand that they were deceived. Pyongyang's decision to jointly participate in the Olympic Games will give Kim Jong-un an opportunity to "take a breath" and prepare his country for a new round of tension that may begin right after the end of the Olympics. Kim Jong-un will never abandon his ambitions in the world political arena, but will try to mitigate possible negative responses from the West, while the policy of the North Korean regime in the nuclear and cyber spheres remains unchanged.

Pyongyang provokes Japan by imitating ballistic missile launches signals and teases South Korea by being unwilling to cancel the military parade scheduled for February 8, right before the opening of the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.

In addition, IT security experts find traces of North Korean military hacker activity around the world. Their goals were the South Korean cyber exchange, the Canadian transport company Metrolinks, which operates public transport systems and airports, as well as a number of Israeli state companies.Kim Jong-un's hackers are also among the suspects in phishing attacks on South Korean Olympic facilities in order to gain access to the Olympic computer network.

What is Kim Jong-un trying to achieve? He seems to be testing the threshold of the "world’s patience limit," conducting, on one hand, a policy of de-escalation and continuing his deliberately anti-Western course on the other. The North Korean leader understands that reducing negative rhetoric towards his country is the only way to legitimize North Korea as a new nuclear power and to force acceptance by the international community. But while the whole world, on the eve of the Olympics, naively believes the suddenly "softened" North Korean leader, he consistently implements his "Napoleonic" ambitions.

What is the real reason for the temporary reconciliation of the two Koreas?

The entire world was surprised to see North Korea's policy reversal toward its southern neighbor. Kim Jong-un suddenly changed his traditionally hostile rhetoric to calls for peace and cooperation. North and South Korea have already agreed to participate together at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and form a joint women's hockey team. While the office of South Korean president Moon Jae-in considers the agreements reached as a significant breakthrough in the process of normalization of relations with its northern neighbor, the South Korean people’s mood cannot be called enthusiastic.

"We understand that many citizens who were worried about the North Korean missile tests, feel bewildered because of a sudden change in mood," the office of South Korean President Moon Jae-in stated.

However, such words cannot convince the majority of South Korean citizens. According to polls, 73% of South Koreans do not support the idea of a joint hockey team. The opponents of this decision indicate that the athletes most likely will not have time to properly prepare for the performance in the new team configuration and therefore will not be able to play well. This is unfair to the hockey players, who had been preparing for a long time, and they surely don’t want to lose in the name of bilateral relations.

Many opponents of reestablishment of relations decided to publicly express their displeasure. On January 22, a wave of protests against the overtures toward the North Korean dictatorial regime swept through the capital of South Korea. Members of the ultra-right Party of Korean Patriots went so far as to burn a portrait of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the streets of Seoul. One of the protest organizers said that "the Pyeongchang Olympics turns into Pyongyang, bearing recognition to the North Korean regime and its nuclear program." South Koreans believe that only Pyongyang will benefit from the upcoming games.

But at the moment, the world community warmly welcomes North Korea to the Olympic movement.

Today, everyone is happy due to the decrease of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, but sooner or later the U.S. and South Korea will understand that they were deceived. Pyongyang's decision to jointly participate in the Olympic Games will give Kim Jong-un an opportunity to "take a breath" and prepare his country for a new round of tension that may begin right after the end of the Olympics. Kim Jong-un will never abandon his ambitions in the world political arena, but will try to mitigate possible negative responses from the West, while the policy of the North Korean regime in the nuclear and cyber spheres remains unchanged.

Pyongyang provokes Japan by imitating ballistic missile launches signals and teases South Korea by being unwilling to cancel the military parade scheduled for February 8, right before the opening of the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.

In addition, IT security experts find traces of North Korean military hacker activity around the world. Their goals were the South Korean cyber exchange, the Canadian transport company Metrolinks, which operates public transport systems and airports, as well as a number of Israeli state companies.Kim Jong-un's hackers are also among the suspects in phishing attacks on South Korean Olympic facilities in order to gain access to the Olympic computer network.

What is Kim Jong-un trying to achieve? He seems to be testing the threshold of the "world’s patience limit," conducting, on one hand, a policy of de-escalation and continuing his deliberately anti-Western course on the other. The North Korean leader understands that reducing negative rhetoric towards his country is the only way to legitimize North Korea as a new nuclear power and to force acceptance by the international community. But while the whole world, on the eve of the Olympics, naively believes the suddenly "softened" North Korean leader, he consistently implements his "Napoleonic" ambitions.