The ‘Pyongyang Olympics’. Why not? Isn’t sport meant to bring us all together?

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL February 9, 2018

The winter Olympics begin today in PyeongChang and some are offering the slightly snarky label: the Pyongyang Games.

It’s a reference to North Korea’s remarkable move to participate in the winter Olympics, to allow its athletes to compete under a unified Korean peninsula flag and to greenlight a united North-South decision to sing an all-Korean folksong in lieu of a national anthem. Basically, the two Koreas’ rapprochement – howsoever limited it may be – has turned the winter Olympics into the unity games, or better still, the hope-for-peace Olympics.

What’s wrong with that? Why is Donald Trump’s America being so mean about North Korean posturing and cross-border initiatives? Why is US vice president Mike Pence labelling the North Korean measures “propaganda” and vowing to prevent them taking over the Olympics?

Some suggest that the US is trying to work alongside South Korea to play good cop, bad copy and thereby persuade North Korea to take steps towards de-nuclearisation.


But it seems more likely (going by the mean-spirited, childish tone of the Trump administration) that the US is simply cross about being cut out of discussions between the South and North Koreas.