Will North Korea send athletes to South Korea for Winter Games?

Good Morning Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – The 2018 Winter Olympic Games are only a month away, and now, leaders from both North and South Korea are holding a historic meeting.

The countries are agreeing to allow North Korea to send its athletes, cheerleaders and a performance troupe to the upcoming games. This meeting is the first talks between the two countries in over two years. It’s happening while tensions remain between the U.S. and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. National security expert Ryan Vogel from Utah Valley University joined Good Morning Utah to explain what it means for the United States. 

Vogel told Good Morning Utah: 

· North Korea is using the upcoming Olympics in South Korea as an opportunity to seek a détente with its southern neighbor and thaw the tensions with some in the international community.

· This diplomatic move does not involve any concessions related to its nuclear program and is likely aimed to distract attention from it.

· Many South Koreans and others in the region are likely to accept the gesture of peace if it tempers the heated rhetoric of the past year – even if it comes at the price of accepting the nuclear program.

· It is unclear how Washington will respond since it has made clear that further development of the nuclear program is unacceptable to the United States.

· North Korea is certainly hoping its new position will lead to easing of sanctions and a return to better relations with China.

· All of these developments come after last week’s exchange between Kim Jong Un and President Trump comparing the size and strength of their respective nuclear arsenals.

· If North Korea seeks to deescalate the situation and the South Koreans accept, the United States will be in a strange place, outside any peace process and potentially at odds with its regional allies.

To learn more about UVU’s Center of National Security Studies visit their website HERE.

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