North Korea and South Korea agreed to march together under a unified Korean flag at the Winter Olympics, which will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea next month. This follows a series of recent breakthroughs between the two countries – which are technically still at war, given that no peace treaty was signed after the end of the Korean War in 1953 – including the first inter-Korean talks in more than two years, North Korea’s offer to send a high-ranking delegation next month, and also the sending of a 140-strong orchestra to perform at the games. This eagerness for North Korea to participate could be contextualised by its bombing of Korean Air Flight 858 in 1987 (which killed all 115 on board), in the lead-up to the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, which was intended to frighten international teams from participating.
These moves, however, have sparked “a sharp public backlash” in South Korea, causing President Moon Jae-in’s approval rating to fall. Continue reading