North Korea’s Presence at the Olympic Games


Re “Pence, in Tokyo, Threatens Tough Penalties for North Korea” (news article, Feb. 8):

I take great umbrage at Vice President Mike Pence’s statement concerning the Olympic Games: “We’ll be there to cheer our athletes, but we’ll also be there to stand with our allies, and remind the world that North Korea is the most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet.”

Does this man not know that the Olympic Games are not supposed to be political? That is their beauty. You don’t stand with allies at the Games. There are no allies and enemies. Just athletes. I think there is a beauty in having North Korean athletes stand with those from South Korea. It is the personification of the spirit of the Games.

I deplore the politics of North Korea. Its human rights violations are deplorable. In that I agree with Mr. Pence. But for the 16 days of the Games, politics should be put aside. It is just about these incredibly talented men and women who have come together to vie for the gold.

It gives me some small hope that, if we could just accept that we have so much more in common than we have differences, we could live together in peace.


Once again sports seems to be softening hard antagonisms. North Korea is entering athletes in the Olympics, easing, for the moment at least, the childish brinkmanship that has been going on. Considering this, would it kill the United States to ease off on some of our sanctions, with the promise of further relaxing them if North Korea continues to soften its hard-line stance?

North Korea is cheating and getting goods anyway despite the sanctions, so how bad could this good-will gesture be? And the possibility that reducing sanctions will lead to a far better relationship is real, and certainly worth the very small, low-risk gamble.


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