Are North Koreans welcome at the Winter Olympics?

Are North Koreans welcome at the Winter Olympics?
From Al Jazeera - February 7, 2018

Seoul, South Korea- When the 2018 Winter Olympics kick off in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang on February 9, delegations from both North and South Korea will march together under one flag.

The symbolic move comes alongside the formation of a joint female ice hockey team, the arrival of a squad of cheerleaders from North Korea, and talks between officials from both sides of the border.

While these efforts are seen as the first step in the resumption of talks between the two Koreas - South Korea is hoping North Korean officials stay beyond the Games, which end on February 25- they have also been met with scepticism.

Anti-government and anti-North Korea protests have taken place on the streets of Seoul, South Korea's capital, and other parts of the country, with protesters calling for an end to the participation of the North Korean delegation.

Some have also questioned the formation of the joint hockey team and argued that South Korea's government needs to take a firm stance against Kim Jong-un, North Korea's leader, following threats and missile tests last year.

Al Jazeera spoke to South Koreans to assess the mood on the streets of Seoul ahead of the scheduled arrival of the North Korean delegation to take part inPyeongchang 2018.

Choi Byung Huk, 83, retired

I am retired, but I was a congressman in the countryside before and owned a small store.

I also doubted the possibility of a war [between North and South Korea] when I was seeing tension on the streets last year.

As for the Winter Olympics, I think it's all right that North Korean delegates are brought over.

[South Korean President Moon Jae-in's] administration is trying to create peace, so whoever the government brings shows that we are hoping for peace.

Joo Youn-shin, 35, interpreter

They have tried to improve the relationship between the two Koreas for half a century, but nothing has changed -and I doubt the Olympics will change anything.

I am not expecting anything from it. I am not interested because I am quite sure nothing will change.

I have never been scared of war or the threats because it has been kind of routine for us. People go about their daily business. We do not really care.

Kim Jong-un is a dictator, and he is way too young to control the country. I do not think it will last forever, but then again, I am not a political expert.

There are some who say these are the Pyongyang Games and not the Pyeongchang Games. It looks like a political show.

Kim Tae-hee, 69, retired

I get angry when Kim Jong-un throws his tantrums.

Our soldiers should not stand alone when he acts like that. They need to fight back.

But we ca not have war. I hope we can reach unification through harmony. It's frustrating because we are being toyed around by the North.

It's not fair that we are just standing still while the North is testing bombs. I am not afraid of war, but if war happens, we will all die.

We are old, so it's OK, but the young people

And I believe the delegation from the North should be allowed to take part in the Winter Olympics because we are one people.

We are one people so whoever winsit's fine.

Jee Soon-bok, 55, factory worker

Even though the news makes it seem like North Korea will start a war soon, I personally do not think that war will happen.

Kim Hee-won, 60, English teacher

Jung Haeng-un, 48, Korean Broadcasting System employee

Kim Ki-hoon, 30, unemployed


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