mandag 7. februar 2022

‘Someone else’s festival’: No North Korea at ally’s Olympics

During the last Winter Games, North Korea basked in the global limelight in South Korea, with hundreds of athletes, cheerleaders and officials pushing hard to woo their South Korean and U.S. rivals in a bid for diplomacy that has since stalled.

Four years later, as the 2022 Winter Olympics come to its main ally and neighbor China, North Korea isn’t sending any athletes and officials — ignoring the International Olympic Committee’s suggestion that individual athletes could potentially compete despite a ban on the country. And though the country again finds itself on the world stage, this time it is because of belligerence, not charm, in the shape of a fast-paced string of increasingly powerful missile tests.

These tests are likely an attempt to do two things at once: perfect still-incomplete weapons systems that the North feels it needs to protect itself from its enemies, while also using the worry over those improving systems to wrest outside concessions and sanctions relief from the United States and South Korea.