Most of the world and the IOC fought to keep Apartheid South Africa out of the Olympics, but North Korea a country with a far worse human rights record and a threat to world peace has South Korea and the IOC literally begging them to participate:
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach is seeking to visit North Korea to discuss its participation in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games, South Korean government sources said Friday.
“The IOC is believed to be discussing with North Korea a possible trip by President Bach to Pyongyang for talks on the country’s participation in the PyeongChang Olympics,” a source said.
The IOC is seeking the visit based on close consultation with the South Korean government.
It remains to be seen, however, whether the North would accept Bach’s visit despite heightened tensions over its nuclear and missile tests. The North last week test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile that appeared capable of reaching Washington DC.
“There is no guarantee that the visit will take place. But if it does happen, it could be interpreted as a positive sign for North Korea’s participation in the PyeongChang Olympics,” another government source said, adding that there was a possibility of a lower level official of the IOC making the trip instead of Bach. [Korea Herald]
You can read more at the link.
This seems like a pretty odd thing to say unless the US has some kind of intelligence that the North Koreans are going to commit some kind of provocation during the Winter Olympics:
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in an interview with Fox News that her country’s participation in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics next February was an “open question” due to security concerns over North Korea, stirring worries in South Korea Friday that the Games could flop.
South Korea’s Blue House scrambled to rebut the idea, saying U.S. President Donald Trump had “promised” President Moon Jae-in during a recent phone call that his country would participate.
During an interview with Fox News’ “The Story with Martha MacCallum” on Wednesday, Haley said the U.S. government has not decided yet whether to participate in the games, adding, “What we will do is make sure we are taking every precaution possible to make sure” that American athletes are “safe and to know everything that’s going on around them.” [Joong Ang Ilbo]
You can read more at the link, but the North Koreans have not committed any provocation nearly as bad as what happened before the 1988 Olympics in Seoul when they bombed KAL Flight 858 killing 115 people. Despite that provocation the US still participated in the Seoul Olympics.
Undeterred trekkers head toward the snow-covered Baekdudaegan, a trail of mountains that starts in North Korea and continues to Mount Jiri in South Korea’s southwest, on Nov. 26, 2017, from the entry point in PyeongChang, east of Seoul. Much of the city and its vicinity saw heavy snowfall overnight, up to 16.2 centimeters in some parts. (Yonhap)
Lim Soo-kyung, a resident of the southwestern city of Gwangju, carries the torch for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics at Jangbul Pass on the city’s Mount Mudeung on Nov. 24, 2017. The Olympic torch relay in South Korea, which began Nov. 1, will cover 2,018 kilometers — the same number as the year of the games. (Yonhap)
Climbers take a photo on the snow-capped Daegwanryeong in Pyeongchang, about 180 kilometers east of Seoul, on Nov. 4, 2017, after the first snow of the fall fell on the mountains of Gangwon Province. (Yonhap)
This photo, taken on Sept. 29, 2017, shows PyeongChang Olympic Stadium, the stage for the upcoming opening and closing ceremonies for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games, in PyeongChang, 180 kilometers east of Seoul. PyeongChang’s organizing committee said the 35,000-seat venue will be finished the following day, 22 months after the start of its construction. (Yonhap)
The North Koreans bombed an airliner prior to the 1988 Seoul Olympics and the games still occurred so I don’t think a bunch of rhetoric is going to stop the Winter Olympics:
But here we are, talking about miniaturization and intercontinental ballistic missiles, fretting about that inflection point where words turn to bombs, understanding that not only PyeongChang next year but Tokyo in 2020 will live under the constant threat of annihilation from the most irrational of actors.
And it’s amid this dread that Olympians stare at the potential danger, weigh it against four years of grueling training for an unmatched apex and, well, shrug. They comprehend the gravity. They recognize the threat. They’ve just got better things to do than worry about it.
Maddie Bowman is 23 years old. She won Olympic gold in Sochi with a flawless halfpipe skiing run and went viral thanks to her grandma. She balances training for PyeongChang with studying for college, though neither keeps her from remaining historically conscious enough to grasp the threat of North Korea that has existed for decades.
Still, when Bowman attended a February test event at Bokwang Phoenix Park, where the freeskiing and snowboarding halfpipe contests will take place, no sense of impending doom imperiled her.
“When we went to South Korea, I felt safe,” Bowman told Yahoo Sports. “And in Russia, I felt pretty safe. I think as skiers, we obviously don’t see risk as a big thing in our lives. In talking with fellow athletes, it’s like, yeah, maybe the Olympics won’t happen, but it’s hard for us to see that risk. It’s not going to get in the way of my goals. I like to keep up with what’s going on in the world and am concerned with decisions we make as a country, but it’s not affecting my training.”
The chatter among fellow Olympians, Bowman said, centers more on the possibility of the PyeongChang Games being canceled rather than athletes pulling out because of concerns over the region’s stability. [Yahoo Sports]
You can read more at the link, but unless an actual conflict breaks out I would be very surprised if the Winter Olympics is cancelled.
Hikers climb a snow-covered mountain in PyeongChang, some 180 kilometers east of Seoul, on April 1, 2017. (Yonhap)
I saw this article in The Telegraph as well as posted on other sites and thought to myself it could not possibly be true:
A picture of the supposed corporate jet that mistakenly landed in Pyongyang.
A delegation of corporate sponsors of next year’s winter Olympics in the South Korean city of PyeongChang was flown to the North Korean capital Pyongyang by mistake, it has emerged.
According to the Around the Rings website the pilot of the corporate jet made a mistake when he entered the flight plan into the aircraft’s navigation system.
It steered the aircraft 250 miles further north than its intended destination.
The plane was carrying eight passengers from Beijing who were on a reconnaissance trip.
Bemused flight control staff at the North Korean capital allowed the Gulfstream and its passengers to land before the plane was ushered to a remote part of the airport.
“We stopped on the tarmac. The pilot announced the error. We were petrified about what might happen,” one of the delegation said later.
“He told us to stay seated, stay calm. A cabin steward popped the door open and we could see armed men in uniform facing the plane.”
With the aid of a translator, the pilot apologised profusely. The passengers were told to disembark while their luggage was inspected.
After inspecting the collection of Olympic badges, which were intended to be delivered to PyeongChang, the North Koreans were satisfied that the landing was completely inadvertent and the plane was allowed to carry on to South Korea. [The Telegraph]
This story just sounded to unbelievable to me so I checked out the source posting from the Around the Rings website. The article is from an anonymous source and posted on April 1st, which is April’s Fools Day. This leads me to believe this is a hoax posting.
What gets me about this is that major news outlets were passing this around because of the sensational headline and did not even bother to confirm its authenticity. This is the world of fake news journalism we now live in.
This photo, provided by the organizing committee for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Feb. 10, 2017, shows the Alpine Center for the international winter event in Jeongseon, 214 kilometers east of Seoul. (Yonhap)