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[Editorial] North Korea’s Self-Contradictory Move

Posted August. 07, 2008 06:23,   


President Lee Myung-bak and North Korea’s No. 2 leader Kim Yong Nam will apparently not be sitting next to each other in a welcoming luncheon hosted by Chinese President Hu Jintao on the first day of the Beijing Olympic Games. When Pyongyang refused the original seating arrangement that placed the leaders of the two Koreas side by side, Chinese organizers reportedly made the change. North Korea just had to spoil the world’s biggest sporting festival with its political ill intention.

The seating arrangement was not the only thing that bothered the communist regime. The North also objected to the order of nations entering the opening ceremony under alphabetical order in Chinese. South Korea would have entered 177th and North Korea 178th under the original plan. Unable to bear the pain of following its southern neighbor, Pyongyang complained to the International Olympic Committee and the Chinese government to get its way. Now the delegations of four nations will separate those of the two Koreas.

The North’s complaints do not end there. By asking the organizers to change its English initials to “DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea),” Kim will sit in the front row at the opening ceremony while Lee will be seated far back. North Korean athletes are not helping, either. When they encounter South Korean athletes or reporters, they either avoid them or brush them off cold as if Pyongyang told them to do so. North Korea further seeks to tarnish sportsmanship with politics by barring the South Korean flag and anthem in a World Cup qualifier in Pyongyang between the two Koreas. The game might not take place at all.

The North’s moves show that its so-called favorite slogan of “We are one family” is mere propaganda to get what the communist regime wants. It is just for attracting foreign aid or creating the illusion of friendship on the peninsula to currying South Korea’s favor when needed. With an aim to teach its tough neighbor a lesson for annoying the regime, North Korea is displaying a certain perversity in the days running up to the Olympic, which is purely a sports event at the center of world attention. Pyongyang’s attitude is way beyond disappointing and simply pathetic.

If the North thinks it can tame the South this way, it couldn’t be more mistaken. Restoring inter-Korean relations begins with a joint investigation into the shooting death of a South Korean tourist at the Mount Geumgang resort.