Winter Olympics in South Korea’s Pyeongchang will be remembered not only sports victories, but also diplomatic. For the first time in a long time, North and South Korea marched under one flag at the opening ceremony of the Games and the team has played a single team in women’s hockey. Moreover, the President of South Korea was invited to Pyongyang, and North Korea finally spoke with Seoul in a conciliatory tone. But the sports festival is coming to an end and not ends along with him and the euphoria seemed so close reconciliation of the two warring States? The Korean Peninsula still continue to ravage the contradictions that have not gone away during the Olympics. What is the future of the country, divided by the 38 th parallel?
The March to the South
As if there was several months of threats coming out of Pyongyang and Washington, the missile and nuclear tests on the one hand and military exercises — on the other… Atmosphere of mutual claims in 2018 gave way to talk about peace on the Korean Peninsula. In fairness, I must say, the South Korean President, moon Jae-In promised to improve relations with its Northern neighbour even before coming to power. But from time to time its initiatives have not received any response from Pyongyang. Experts familiar with the situation in the North Korean government circles, assume that all this time Kim Jong-UN watched the new occupant of the Blue Palace — the residence of South Korean presidents. And many in Seoul explain the sudden change of mood in Pyongyang easier: the regime finally acted to international sanctions, making it more pliable.
“North Korea has always resorted to the “Korean card” when they are in a difficult position, — said in comments “MK” Director of Korean programmes of the Institute of Economics Georgy Toloraya. — Therefore, the step of Kim Jong-UN toward Seoul was a very wise and promising. Thus, he used the mood of the administration moon Jae-In, marching under the slogan to power, cooperation, and showed its leading role in defusing tension on the Korean Peninsula. And, of course, such a step Pyongyang has sought to break or at least weaken the Union of the United States and South Korea. He was taken for tactical reasons, but opens the door to strategic convergence”.
In his new year speech, North Korean leader Kim Jong-UN announced the participation of North Korean athletes in the Olympics. To this end, Seoul has had to withdraw from North Korea of the sanctions: otherwise, the delegation from Pyongyang simply could not cross the border. To the South was sent the “invasion” of the North Korean artists and officials.
Although the United Korean team for women’s hockey in the end miserably failed, her performance will be remembered by all thanks to the team of North Korean cheerleaders. 229 girls, all are equal as on selection, sang Patriotic songs and provided a stormy and prolonged applause and a standing ovation. Without “uncle Chernomor” is also not cost — cheerleaders everywhere accompanied by men, not allowing them to deviate from the desired path and how to consider the “decadent South”. Maiden’s landing was intended to create a positive image of the DPRK in the world. But in the end the opposite happened. Movement girls were so close and looked so artificial that someone thought them almost as robots, and someone Koreans has become simply pathetic.
Not without embarrassment. During the game, the Korean hockey team with the Japanese team before the North Korean cheerleaders appeared double, Kim Jong-UN and began to dance. The guard quickly took the parodist who calls himself Howard, out of sight, but the cheerleaders at the time were confused. Needless to say that they have at home such jokes are unthinkable.
One of the most interesting persons of the delegation was the sister of North Korean leader Kim Yu-Jeong, which is considered the right hand of Kim Jong-UN. On the sidelines of the Olympic games, she met with moon Jae-in and on behalf of the North Korean leader invited him to Pyongyang. Thus, for the first time since 2007 the looming prospect of inter-Korean summit. In the messages distributed to the state news Agency of North Korea, it was called “the dramatic atmosphere of reconciliation.”
What prevents dialogue
However, the head of the Blue Palace guardedly responded to the invitation to Pyongyang. “Let us make this possible by creating the conditions necessary in the future,” he said. Under this, the South Korean President was apparently referring to the fact that the DPRK must abandon its missile and nuclear programs to the inter-Korean summit was held. Pyongyang, in turn, may wish to slightly loosen sanctions at the expense of rapprochement with its southern neighbour, but certainly not with nuclear weapons, which the regime believes the key to their own survival.
“In inter-Korean relations has emerged a disturbing pattern: moon Jae In started to talk about some conditions that we need to discuss the denuclearization — continues George Toloraya. — It is clearly influenced by the Americans. And the northerners on this subject to talk with him not going. Thus, the inter-Korean summit is under threat. If at the end of the Olympics near the borders will start delayed us-South Korean military exercises and North Korea will see this as a provocation, then everything will return to normal. Of course, North Korea in this matter would be tolerant and to compromise, but in this case not trained”.
As told “MK” a senior South Korean diplomat in Seoul, under any circumstances, does not allow the nuclear status of the DPRK. “Policy flexibility” moon Jae-In, according to him, is aimed at the elimination of nuclear weapons by North Korea.
And indeed, among ordinary South Koreans, too, not everyone was welcome in the North. On the way of the DPRK delegation here, and there was crowd of protesters, burning pictures of Kim Jong-UN and tear the North Korean flag. The conservative part of the South Korean population sees any steps toward Pyongyang as concessions to the regime, which he does not deserve it. But, as emphasized by the South Korean high-ranking officials, the majority of inhabitants of the Republic still stand for peace on the Peninsula and reducing tensions. However, with some reservations. As shown by public opinion polls, 60% of South Koreans would prefer a peaceful coexistence of two States, not the Union.
Rapprochement between the two Koreas, not to mention unification, is clearly contrary to the plans of the US — a key ally of Seoul. Us Vice President Michael Penny, who visited the opening of the Games, did not get tired to emphasize that the sanctions pressure on North Korea should be strengthened as long as it does not abandon its nuclear program. And he was clearly unhappy with the fact that at the opening ceremony he had to sit in an unpleasant proximity to representatives of the highest power circles in North Korea. So unhappy that he refused to attend the official dinner, where he would have had to sit at the same table with the Chairman of the Parliament of the DPRK.
“The United States generally are not interested in the rapprochement between the two Koreas, says George Toloraya. — Americans are just gnashing his teeth about the fact that countries began to negotiate among themselves, setting aside disagreements about nuclear weapons. Russia, by contrast, is interested in normalization of relations of Seoul and Pyongyang and strongly contributes to this. Moscow wants the issues of inter-Korean rapprochement were discussed by the two Koreas, and the issues of the nuclear issue of the Peninsula was discussed in the six-party format, which must precede U.S.-North Korean negotiations. And there is nothing to this case be adjusted to the inter-Korean dialogue.”
“Rapprochement between the two Koreas is an illusion — the head of the Centre for Asia-Pacific studies IMEMO RAS Vasily Mikheev. — The South Koreans just to pay the costs of North Korean athletes and delegation, so they came. Moon Jae-In came to power with the idea to act not as its predecessors, and do something to improve inter-Korean relations. So he went to the demonstration this seeming rapprochement.
The DPRK does not want to discuss the nuclear issue, but trying to achieve recognition of its nuclear status de-facto. For North Korea, any talks, including a trip through the South Korean taxpayer, contribute to the achievement of this goal. Therefore, they demonstrate their willingness to discuss with South Korea and the United States all except the nuclear programme. But for any of us North Korea’s nuclear status is unacceptable, including Russia.
However, the issue of nuclear status of North Korea defines the extent of the alleged improvement. First South Korean President enthusiastically responded to the idea of inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang, but then, apparently under pressure from the United States, said that there should be discussed the issues of disarmament. And Pyongyang just not ready to discuss it. And it’s a dead end. Does not worth to hope that North Korea will make concessions in principle for a nuclear issue. Kim Jong Il was still willing to “sell” its nuclear program, so in his time was possible the six-party talks. But Kim Jong-UN will not do the negotiations with him at all useless.
So the Olympics will not step brings us closer to solving the core issue in inter-Korean relations. And the warming of relations. It responds primarily to the interests of Pyongyang and the tactical tasks of the administration of President moon”.
North Korea, of course, wanted to show the world its new face, to extend an olive branch perennial enemy. But if the rhetoric toward South Korea have changed dramatically, the United States, Pyongyang still regards as enemy number one. “That the US is the sworn enemy of the Korean nation and the biggest obstacle to peace and unification”, — stated in the message the state Agency KCNA released during the Olympics. So if after the end of the sports festival between the two Koreas sank to its former level or even will penetrate new bottom, Pyongyang will have someone to blame: we tried, but “the machinations of America” again, all Porush.
The Olympics is still a show, and a show of reconciliation, perhaps the only part of that expensive and spectacular views.