After the announcement weeks ago that the International Olympic Committee awarded South Korea the 2018 Winter Games to be held in Pyeongchang mountainous district on the country’s east coast, trouble is brewing. Banished from memories of the fanfare and the outsized bragging of the Lee Myung bak government. In the place of joy and allegria comes the fear that North Korea is trying to muscle in on the South’s moment of triumph.
Well the suggestion that Korea host a joint North South team comes not with urgency from Pyongyang but from Seoul itself.
Now, according to the gatekeeper of South Korea’s ideological and political purity Donald Kirk, that suggestion will take close to centre stage in the next two presidential elections.
The very thought of easing the taut relations between North and South that Lee himself has created by his draconian ‘Drang nach Norden’ policies which almost brought about a shooting war, is abhorrent to Kirk.
A strong supporter of Lee, he shudders that the Grand National Party which came back to power in 2008, will probably have as its standard bearer Park Geun hye, daughter of dictator Park Chung hee [whose memory has become the object of nostalgia and reputation is getting a wholesale re evaluation] favours lowering the temperature of attacks on North Korea.
Lee’s four years in power have not been all wine and roses; it looks as though South Koreans have grown weary with his in your face style of governing. A lull in tensions is very much on the agenda.
Park is not the only one pushing for a joint North South presence at the 2018 winter games. Other political parties like the Democratic Party see the value in presenting a common front in Pyeongchang. So, the call is beyond partisanship, it seems.
The idea of a North South team is not new, and we have seen it in other Olympic and Football World Games.
Nevertheless the very idea of a ‘united’ Korean effort sends shivers down Kirk’s spine. GuamDiary suggests if you can afford the high price of his book, ‘Korea betrayed: Kim Dae Jung and sunshine’ to see where this unreconstructed Cold Warrior is coming from. As a US citizen he has donned the cloak of knowing what is best for South Korea better than South Koreans themselves.
For him, the weakening of Lee’s aggressive, short of war policy towards the DPRK is fraught with dangers. It may very well bring back a modified ‘Sunshine Policy’, which Kirk has never shied away from damning. What imperial arrogance!
He may think that he knows what is best for South Koreans, yet he misses by a wide margin the existential pride Koreans North or South have for the land of Korea. So ‘Korea’ as an ideal takes pride of place in this instance over political differences, in a competitive international sports venue.