The Atlantic

North Korea and the Spotty Record of Sports Diplomacy

As any soccer hooligan will tell you, sports could just as well stoke tensions as defuse them.
Source: Daid Gray / Reuters

Will taekwondo achieve what diplomacy hasn’t?

North Korea, having ignored South Korean requests to participate for months, will send athletes, cheerleaders, and taekwondo-demonstration teams to next month’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The agreement, which was announced Tuesday after the first meeting between the two countries in two years, could help reduce tensions caused by Pyongyang’s nuclear-weapons and ballistic-missile programs. But will it?

The development is a breakthrough. It was accompanied by the announcement the two sides would hold military talks to reduce tensions. But we’ve been here before.

The two Koreas marched together under one flag

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