Diplomacy, Rather Bluster Could Impact 2018 South Korea Games

The Koreas are speaking.



For some reason, United States Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina is a media darling and is looked at as some sort of expert on international relations so when Senator Graham says something, the Washington pundits listen. The South Carolina lawmaker does not think it is a good idea for the United States to send athletes to the South Korea Winter Olympics which starts on February 9 if North Korean athletes are allowed to compete.  Graham wants an Olympic boycott because the relationship between the United States and North Korea is nonexistent and the stakes have been raised because North Korea claims it has nuclear weapons. Apparently North and South Korea have reopened a line of communications and South Korea may want North Korean athletes to participate in the Games South Korea is hosting. Two skaters from North Korea did qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics but missed a deadline to enter. It is possible under Olympics rules that the two skaters and other North Korean athletes could enter as wild cards.

South Korea still has a joint military exercise scheduled with the United States and the Americans plan to honor that commitment after the Olympics. Defense Secretary James Mattis initially said the United States did not plan to pause the annual military exercise with South Korea during the Olympics. South Korea and the United States usually hold their two annual military drills, in March and April, with some 17,000 American troops and more than 300,000 South Korean soldiers participating. Last November, the South Korea government said it might consider dropping the joint exercises. Senator Graham is worried if North Korea does take part in the South Korea Olympics, it would give the North Korea government legitimacy. Graham added he was confident South Korea will reject this absurd overture. Graham can complain but South Korea has to make the call.


It seems North Korea wants to send athletes to the Olympics.