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A unified Korean flag is sporting, but...

7 FEBRUARY 2018: WITH North and South Korea briefly ending a violent decades-old rivalry for joint participation in the Winter Olympics at PyeongChang South Korea, US policy has "been upended" says The New York Times.

The newspaper writes, "While a onetime Olympics ceremony is hardly a step toward reunification, the image of athletes marching behind a 'unified Korea' flag is a symbolic manifestation of what worries Mr. Trump’s aides. And the prospect of crowds from North and South Korea cheering together would be a striking contrast to the threats of war from Mr. Trump."

With South Korean President Moon Jae-in sticking his neck out to take a big risk with his version of the "Sunshine Policy", there has been much rocking of his boat by dissidents at home and abroad. Says The Guardian, "Young people and conservatives in South Korea have accused the country’s president, Moon Jae-in, of sacrificing Olympic ideals for diplomatic expediency."

Moon has had to face considerable political heat as well. The Guardian quotes opposition leader Hong Joon-pyo as saying, “We are turning the Pyeongchang Olympics that we’ve got into the Pyongyang Olympics.”

"Ice hockey officials in Switzerland, who face South Korea in their opening match, said the expected late addition of North Korean players was 'not fair and distorts competition'." What is unsaid but more true is that it is perhaps unfair for the unified Korean team that has to surmount difficulties in dialect and training and differing game plays.

Seoul's Korea Joongang Daily points out that President Moon has other obstacles within his coterie. The paper observes, "His aides — formerly dissidents and left-wing activists — are coincidentally from the anti-Olympics generation. They attended college when student protests peaked against the Olympics as a capitalistic symbol isolating their comrades and fellow travelers in the North. Students are usually blinded by an idealistic vision of unification. They ended up helping the Pyongyang regime, which worked hard to ruin the first major international event held by South Korea."

It was President Kim Dae-jung who first launched his 'Sunshine Policy" to soften North Korea and bring it to the discussion table in 1998. That policy ran until 2008.

Meanwhile, the tit-for-tat continues as the US and North Korea spar. CNN reports, "In a move sure to annoy Pyongyang, US Vice President Mike Pence will take the father of the late Otto Warmbier, an American student who was jailed in North Korea, to the Opening Ceremony, the Washington Post reported Sunday. Meanwhile, North Korea is sending Kim Yong Nam, the head of the country's parliament, who is one of the most senior North Korean officials to ever visit South Korea. On the eve of the Olympics, Pyongyang will stage its own international show with a parade of hundreds of missiles and rockets, sending the world a clear message that its military might is not to be underestimated." – Asian Conversations