While President Trump continues to slam at North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, the North and South Koreans have successfully negotiated a unification treaty to cover the coming Olympics. This will be the first time North and South Korea combine into one team, and many wonder what this means for the future political stability of the area.
Discussions were held in the demilitarized zone between the two countries and on Wednesday conclusions were reached. The two sides agreed to create a unified women’s ice hockey team for the winter Olympics being held in Pyeongchang next month. North Korea will also send some 230 supporters to help cheer the team as well as watch the Paralympics. (Question: will they really be supporters or political/intelligence agents?)
The International Olympics Committee (IOC) has to approve the request since this changes the way the Olympics represents countries as well as deal with the complications in the opening, closing and medals ceremonies.
The IOC will hold discussions on the request in Lausanne, Switzerland where the IOC headquarters are based. An IOC spokesperson stated: “We are sure that the two Korean delegations will present their ideas and proposals at the meeting on Saturday in Lausanne. This will then enable the IOC to carefully evaluate the consequences and the potential impact on the Olympic Games and the Olympic competitions.”
The recent meetings open up an important thaw in relations between the two countries; some skeptics think that this is Kim Jong Un’s way to focus the media away from their nuclear weapons program as well as throw sand in Trump’s eyes.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said to the press that “I believe that North Korea wants to buy some time to continue their nuclear and missile programs. It’s not the time to ease pressure towards North Korea.”
The US military is still maneuvering more firepower into the Korean peninsula and a UN-based initiative with the United States, Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom, met in Vancouver, Canada to discuss the North Korea situation.
In regard to the Vancouver meeting, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told the press that the Vancouver thought process “will only lead to split in the international community and harm the joint efforts that could properly solve the nuclear issue on Korea peninsula.” He went on to state that China views the Vancouver meeting as “Cold War mentality.”
Another warning comes from John Park, director of the Korea Working Group at the Harvard Kennedy School. He stated in similar sentiments to the those of Tono, that “Both Koreas are primarily utilizing the talks for a limited objective, arranging the participation of a North Korean delegation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.”
South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-Wha told the press on Wednesday that “Despite these overtures to improve relations with the South, North Korea has yet to show any intention to fulfill its international obligations regarding denuclearization.”
North Korea will not budge from its nuclear program and will continue to test ballistic missiles as well as continue to strengthen its nuclear arsenal. Joint US-South Korea military drills have been put on hold during the Olympics as a show of good faith, but they will resume after the competition.