Just before the opening of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, on Friday, police encountered protesters as they were burning North Korean flags and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un in effigy outside the Olympic stadium, Reuters reports.
While anti-North Korean protests might be fairly common in the South — there is certainly plenty of reason for enmity — these protests happened just hours before two top officials from North Korea were set to attend the Games’ opening ceremony.
To be fair to the protesters — not only is the North a dangerously belligerent neighbor, the two countries are still technically at war.
About 800 protesters gathered for a march to the stadium, according to Reuters, and although their indignation may well be justified, the South Korean government wanted the lighting of the famous Olympic torch to be a symbol of peace.
The protesters sported banners with such lines as “Moon Regime is leading Korea to destruction,” and one that asked President Donald Trump: “Mr President. North Korea bombing, please.”
Well, the English might not be elegant, but the message sure comes through.
Reuters reports that South Korean President Moon Jae-in hopes to leverage the Olympic games to pave the way for talks of peace and possible discussions concerning his northern neighbor’s nuclear and missile program.
Given what we know of North Korea, I wouldn’t get too excited.
That being said, there were some seriously symbolic moments in the opening ceremonies.
As The New York Times reports, Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, attended the event, sitting closely behind Vice President Mike Pence, who headed up the American delegation.
What’s more, the North and South Korean Olympians marched together, behind one flag, a sight many thought they’d never see without bloodshed.
“Many considered it an impossible dream to have an Olympics of peace, in which North Korea would participate and the two Koreas would form a joint team,” remarked South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Moon might be pleased with the two countries sharing a women’s hockey team, as Breitbart reports, but South Korean citizens are right to be outraged.
They are partnering with a country that threatens violence as regularly as former candidate Hillary Clinton puts her foot in her mouth.
There is no doubt that, as these Olympics and hoped-for talks move forward, that a good portion South Korean populace won’t be too eager to support diplomatic niceties with the rogue state.
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