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30 years ago, South Korea missed an opportunity for North Korea to have a role in the Olympics

Lessons of Seoul Games’ triumph over terror 30 years ago, NBC News, 28 Jan 18 by South Korea offering an olive branch. North Korea striking a defiant tone. And the world waiting to see if tensions rattling the Korean Peninsula could undermine an Olympic Games, with calamitous consequences.

That was the backdrop 30 years ago as South Korea prepared to host its first Olympics in the summer of 1988.

In some ways, the fears then are reverberating today — with potentially even more at stake because of North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

But this year, as snow-capped PyeongChang — just 50 miles from the border with the North — prepares to host the Winter Olympics next month, foreign policy analysts say the lessons of the Seoul Games could show the region how to move closer to not only a trouble-free event, but a path to permanent peace.

The 1988 Games were “a major missed opportunity for South Korea,” said Sergey Radchenko, a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington who has studied North Korea’s role in the Olympics. “They missed the opportunity to engage with the North.”

So what’s different this time around?

High-level talks between the North and South this month led to an agreement to not only have their Olympic athletes march together for the first time since the 2006 Winter Games in Torino, Italy, but to form their first unified Olympic team.

A dozen female ice hockey players from North Korea will join players from the South to compete under a blue-and-white unification flag……..

January 29, 2018 - Posted by | North Korea, politics international, South Korea

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