Guidance

The Political Games at the 2018 Winter Olympics

Feb 8, 2018 | 18:10 GMT
A delegation of North Korean supporters arrives in South Korea for the Olympics on Feb. 7, 2018.

North Korean cheerleaders walk to their accommodations in Inje, north of Pyeongchang, on Feb. 7, 2018, ahead of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games.

(JUNG YEON JE/AFP/Getty Images)

After years of preparation in South Korea, the Pyeongchang Olympics will open Feb. 9 in the mountainous northeast. But the crisis of the past year driven by North Korea's nuclear weapons program -- and an unexpected outreach from leader Kim Jong Un -- has added an element of geopolitical drama to the world's premier winter sporting festival. The XXIII Winter Olympiad will draw thousands of athletes and spectators to the Alpensia Resort in Pyeongchang county and to the nearby coastal town of Gangneung during Feb. 9-25. It will be followed by the Paralympic Games at the same venues during March 9-18. Beyond the pause in exchanges of hostile rhetoric between North Korea and the United States, the games themselves do not hold geopolitical relevance. Instead, what matters in that realm will come after the Olympic torch is extinguished, gauged by the North Korean reaction to the resumption of joint...

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