January 17, 2018

"North and South Korea have agreed to form their first joint Olympic team and will march together under a unified flag during the opening ceremony..."

The Daily Mail reports.
The two Koreas agreed to form a combined women's ice hockey team to take part in next month's Winter Olympics in PyeongChang in the South next month. Seoul's Unification Ministry says the agreement was during talks on Wednesday at the border village of Panmunjom....

North Korea will send a delegation of about 550, including 230 cheerleaders, 140 artists and 30 Taekwondo players for a demonstration, the statement added.
Great. I guess. 230 North Korean cheerleaders... not really picturing that, but okay.

58 comments:

EDH said...

Is there anything Trump can't do?

Curious George said...

" 230 North Korean cheerleaders... not really picturing that, but okay."

Something like this.

MikeR said...

I hope Donald Trump is listening to Scott Adams on this one. Let them recombine under the enlightened leadership of Kim Jong Un. Don't give him any real power; he'll be happy with his victory.

robother said...

"Gimme a K!"

Big Mike said...

Let me know if the cheerleaders are carrying AK-47s.

Bob Boyd said...

North Korean cheerleaders have the pointiest elbows.

Hagar said...

Cheerleaders is the American Way, so everybody have to do that - even The Hermit Kingdom.

dreams said...

Trump, in a word.

Hagar said...

There is a lot of cultural appropriation going on across the world today!

J. Farmer said...

This is decent news from the perspective of the South Koreans and the Chinese. I have no idea why American commenters (particularly those who approve of an aggressive approach) would be excited about this. The talks seem to have been mediated in China. The very limited concessions the North have made are mostly likely efforts to strength communication between the North and South at the expense of the USA. Moon Jae-in is a kind of flip flopping opportunistic politician who does not appear to command a lot of respect in Beijing. He has already come out in favor of suspending US-Korean military drills until after the '18 Winter Olympics, which was a key Chinese goal.

AllenS said...

George, that was hilarious!

John Lynch said...

Until there is a crisis right before the Games. Come on.

Bob Boyd said...

Though at first I'm tempted to say, "Oh great! Progress! Kumbaya!", I'm going to suspend judgement on this for now.
But the more cheerleaders the better.

Incognito said...

When the crook cracks under good cop, bad cop, and starts talking to the good cop, the bad cop never had anything to do with it.

Incognito said...

It’s axiomatic.

rehajm said...

What no shooting athletes from N. Korea? I guess in the Winter Olympics there's only biathlon. Perhaps they can't ski...

Incognito said...

China has always had plenty of control over their barking dog. Why did. they wait until now to exercise any of it? Because Obama, he went over their after Trump’s visit, and straightened it all out, Logan Act or no.

Bob Boyd said...

John Lynch said...
"Until there is a crisis right before the Games. Come on."

Kim dandles the enticing prospect of exotic Asian cheerleaders before our decadent western eyes, then snatches it away at the last moment, striking at our morale.

Trumpit said...

Now's their chance to seek asylum.

Incognito said...

Maybe John Lynch is part of it, trying to shush us all and warn us against tipping the game to the Nork.

J. Farmer said...

@Incognito:

China has always had plenty of control over their barking dog. Why did. they wait until now to exercise any of it?

The amount of control China has over North Korea is pretty routinely overstated. There have been conflicts between the countries over border security and the North seizing Chinese vessels that reveal how limited Beijing's power can be over the north. Also, the Chinese are not particularly thrilled about a North Korean nuclear missile program that could potentially deter them as well. Now, when people talk about Chinese "control" over North Korea, what they really mean is economic leverage. However, China is an extremely conservative country. It cherishes stability and predictability. Plus it knows that North Korea is a buffer against American troops on its border. And so it is not likely to take steps that would seriously wound the regime to the point of collapse, which would be seen as a disaster on the Chinese side.

Incognito said...

Must not credit Trump.

exiledonmainstreet said...

I'll bet none of them will take a knee when their national anthem is played.

Seeing Red said...

Mommy! Save me from the orange man!

Triangle Man said...

Sochi : Crimea as PyeongChang : ?

Bob Boyd said...

John Lynch said...
"Until there is a crisis right before the Games. Come on."

There's not enough o's in shrooood to describe John Lynch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Vde7rrYLbo

mockturtle said...

For whatever reason, it's a good thing.

dbp said...

It's a trap!

Seeing Red said...

They want to be reunited. Same song different singers.

They’ve done this dance before.

If the SorKs want to be ruled by him, that’s their decision.

It’s stupid, but it is their decision.

We could feed them with 1 hand tied behind our backs, but the psychological damage will take a few generations to mitigate.

At least East Germany lived somewhat in the modern world.

Do the SorKs even have that kind of money for unification and modernization?

We do and China does.

Comanche Voter said...

There is a certain utility to the bull in the china shop. He breaks things. But he also causes change. I doubt that Whoa Fat or Little Rocket Man would have started to at least talk with the South Koreans if he had been faced with more of the same old talk talk and visits from Dennis Rodman and Jimmy Carter.

Change is not always good--but then it's also not always bad. At least the Trumpster has managed to get things off of the existing stasis on the Korean Peninsula.

I was struck by a headline in the NYT a day or two ago. "Military Prepares For A War It Does Not Want". I think the NYT headline writer was blinded by his or her prejudiced belief that military officers are eager to go to war. Most of them are in fact reluctant to go to war, for they know its true costs.

Khesanh 0802 said...

@mockturtle I second your thought.

J. Farmer said...

@Incognito:

Must not credit Trump.

He is free to take credit for it all he wants. Moon was certainly obsequious in his crediting of Trump. But Moon has his own game to play. Dialogue is always a good thing, but these are very minor symbolic concessions. What is the proposed path from here to denuclearization of the peninsula (that stated goal)? The talks were engineered and mediated by China. North Korea will have representation at the Olympics while giving up nothing on nuclear weapon or ballistic missile development. In return, Moon is conceding to Chinese demands to hold off on joint military drills between the US and North Korea. I don't see much of any strategic value in any of this from the American perspective.

Seeing Red said...

Carter jaw-jawed as a sign of world unity or something and got the NorKs to go before.

So, meh.

Mike said...

Do the SorKs even have that kind of money for unification and modernization?

7th-largest economy in the world. Heavy manufacturing center for autos, electronics, appliances, etc. Making some of the best Pop music in the world. And Psy, don't forget him.

Tim in Vermont said...

The talks were engineered and mediated by China.

You just explained that China as almost no control over North Korea.

I don’t see much of any strategic value in any of this from the American perspective.

If J Farmer doesn’t see it, it doesn’t exist! Farmer’s Razor, we can call it.

It’s true that one swallow does not a spring make, but just because everything doesn’t thaw immediately doesn’t mean spring’s not coming, either. Speaking of not seeing, I don’t see the rush to judge the new policy. The old one certainly didn’t work very well

Tim in Vermont said...

BTW, That’s my last comment in a “dialogue” with a commenter who can’t even consider positions aside from his own. Been down that road. No thanks.

Francisco D said...

South Koreans, of which I know quite a few, struggle in how they conceive their relationship with North Korea.

On one hand, they desperately want to reunite. For the older folks, it's about family - something extremely important in the culture.

On the other hand, they know that they will have to deal with the remnants of Communism.

Most believe that Kim Jong Un is crazy, but figure they can handle that.

I strongly suspect that Kim Jong Un and his father and grandfather have long been manipulating the heartstrings of South Koreans for money.

Rusty said...

"230 North Korean cheerleaders..."

Read. Special operations operatives.

Freeman Hunt said...

I don't know that this is a good thing.

J. Farmer said...

@Tim In Vermont:

You just explained that China as almost no control over North Korea.

No. What I said was that the "amount of control China has over North Korea is pretty routinely overstated." China obviously exerts a great deal of influence with North Korea. It is not a contradiction to say that the amount of influence is overstated. China, for example, cannot simply order North Korea to stop testing nuclear weapons.

If J Farmer doesn’t see it, it doesn’t exist! Farmer’s Razor, we can call it.

Sure, if you ignore the fact that everything I wrote before that was a critique of a strategic value.

It’s true that one swallow does not a spring make, but just because everything doesn’t thaw immediately doesn’t mean spring’s not coming, either.

There have been numerous thaws, on relatively minor issues. There is no reason to suspect this one will lead to significantly different behavior on the part of the North Korean regime. By the way, this deal includes South Korea footing the bill for the North's Olympics participation, and the North is demanding the return of defectors. Plus a suspension of US-ROK military drills, which were just announced. And the ballistic missile and nuclear weapons program are not affected.

Speaking of not seeing, I don’t see the rush to judge the new policy.

What's the new policy? The administration's North Korea policy has been the same for nearly a year now. Improved relations between the North and the South is actually at odd's with the administration's goals. The administration is seeking to isolate the North and increase punitive sanctions against it. In the same address that Kim Jong-Un opened the door to dialogue with the South, he reaffirmed the North's commitment to nuclear weapons development and promised to increase the production of warheads in 2018.

Earnest Prole said...

230 North Korean cheerleaders... not really picturing that, but okay.

Rule 34

rhhardin said...

First hockey fight fought with nukes.

Luke Lea said...

230 North Korean cheerleaders. You can bet they will be in unison. Remember those five thousand synchronized drummers or however many it was at the Chinese Olympics opening ceremony? It was scary.

Balfegor said...

RE: J. Farmer:

The amount of control China has over North Korea is pretty routinely overstated.

Especially today -- Jang Song Thaek was apparently the man in the leadership most closely aligned with China. Which is, uh, probably why Kim Jong-un had him killed. What some Chinese have told me is that the Chinese government was actually planning a coup in North Korea to install Song-thaek as the new leader, someone in the government leaked the plan to Jong-un (that person has since been incarcerated), and this triggered the arrest and execution. I don't know whether that's true, but it seems plausible to me.

There are still elements within China, and even within the Chinese leadership that are close to North Korea. To assert that China's government therefore has the ability to control North Korea -- particularly today -- would be mistaken, I believe. Their "leverage" is basically the same leverage we have, i.e. to starve them out. They could potentially do more there, but unlike us, North Korea is right next to them.

Sean Gleeson said...

Trouble picturing them? This will help. Just last week, the Telegraph posted a 1-minute explainer video specifically about North Korea’s cheering squad: “Meet Kim Jong-un's 'army of beauties'“

walter said...

Well..that assures 550 North Koreans will eat and get medical care.

Rusty said...

walter
I'd like to be there when they get to order a MickyDs

walter said...

Certainly a change since this October article:
South Korea Phones the North Twice a Day. No One Answers

walter said...

New minister of of the..err...unification ministry was brought on in June:
South Korea names new unification minister to handle North Korea ties

Jason said...

Lamest. Nuclear war. Ever.

veni vidi vici said...

So far they're mum on the number of partridges in pear trees.

Mountain Maven said...

Three Carrier Groups offshore have a way of focusing one's attention.

Drago said...

Mountain Maven: "Three Carrier Groups offshore have a way of focusing one's attention"

How do we know those Carrier Groups are real if they won't climb onto a scale in public to be weighed?

Will Brown said...

Wonder how a North Korean kid will react to a South Korean kid's cell phone.....

Ambrose said...

I have it on good authority that Trump has made the Korean situation much worse - so is this fake news?

Lucien said...

So China mediated the talks after years of...er...not mediating the talks. As long as Trump doesn't get credit, why not?

That said, I agree with J Farmer that there is no particular reason to believe that this "thaw" will lead to anything of significance. In fact, my suspicion is that it's a puppet show not meant to do anything other than cool down the rhetoric and ease tensions while North Korean nuclear development continues at speed.

I also think that - unlike Clinton, Dubya, and Obama - Trump isn't going to fall for it. Keep your hands inside the car at all times kids, this is going to be a rough ride.

walter said...

Will Brown said...Wonder how a North Korean kid will react to a South Korean kid's cell phone.....
--
"You gonna eat that?"

mikee said...

I, for one, look forward to the drug tests of the North Korean women on the hockey team. East German female shot putters from the 1960s have nothing on North Korean female hockey players.