Go to contents

[Editorial] North`s Abrupt Boycott of Universiade Invite Growing International Mistust

[Editorial] North`s Abrupt Boycott of Universiade Invite Growing International Mistust

Posted August. 18, 2003 22:08,   


North Korea`s decision not to take part in the Summer Universiade held in Daegu, South Korea, will invite international community`s mistrust in the Communist regime.

The North`s threat that it may boycott the international sporting event held in South Korea constitutes “foul play,” which is unacceptable regarding international practices. The North`s abrupt move came just a few days before the opening of the Summer Universiade where young athletes from all around world will fairly compete with each other. Its abrupt reversal of its previous decision to send its delegation to the South runs against the spirit of sports. If the North does not send a 197-member delegation to the international sporting event, it will be difficult to avoid international criticisms for throwing cold water on the festive mood of the games.

It is questionable whether the North is qualified for becoming a reliable member of the international community for the reason that Pyongyang cited for its boycott of the games. The North`s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland called for an official apology from the South Korean government, taking issues with the recent anti-Pyongyang rallies held by right wing groups on August 15 in the South. The North seems to provoke a quarrel uselessly because it is applying the same unified standard which is used for North Korea`s events to the demonstration organized by democratic South Korean civic groups. It is unacceptable for the North to take issues with a democratically organized rally, freely expressing their opinions as a reason for its boycott of the international sporting event.

The North also claimed that it couldn`t send its athletes and cheering squad to Daegu, the venue for the games, where “basic security is not guaranteed.” Then, did the North forget the last year`s Busan Asian Games where it sent its delegation to participate in games successfully carried out without any problems? It is regrettable for the North to decide not to send its athletes to the global youth event at a time when citizens in Daegu and the organizing committee of the games are ready to warmly welcome young athletes from the North. It is attempting to undermine the idea of “Dream for Unity,” a slogan for the games.

The government should sternly deal with the North`s abrupt and unacceptable move. There is no reason for the government to offer an official apology to the North. Rather, the government needs to let the North realize that its sudden boycott of the games will invite international community`s deeper mistrust against the regime. North Korea has failed to make good on its promises many times before. The government should not be swayed by its old-fashioned tactic to drag the South into internal conflicts. The only thing the government has to do is to urge the North to participate the games. If the North continues its imprudent demand, the government should be ready to host the international sporting event without the North`s participation.