The Winter Olympics will begin on Friday in South Korea, and, as was expected, North Korea has already begun to drop propaganda – literally.
Reuters reported Monday that North Korea dropped leaflets into the mountains of Seoul, South Korea, that mark the beginning of the Winter Olympics.
The fliers were likely dropped from balloons that were launched in North Korea over the weekend.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 5, 2018
They show the 2018 Olympics logo and two cartoon mascots, Reuters reported, citing NK News, which published photos of the fliers.
The leaflets read: “Welcome, guests from Pyongyang,” Reuters reported. The fliers also welcomed “North Korean athletes, cheerleaders, journalists, Taekwondo display team and performance artists.”
“The reverse side of the propaganda leaflets showed the Winter Olympics mascots striding side-by-side and saying ‘Let’s go to Kaesong! Let’s go to Mount Kumgang!’, referring to the closed inter-Korean industrial zone and a failed inter-Korean tourist project that sit just inside North Korea,” Reuters reported.
Since January, North Korean leaflets sent to Seoul have softened in tone, calling for inter-Korean economic cooperation and celebrating Olympic participation https://t.co/NfTQHADCqN pic.twitter.com/bRqIwvfMNH
— NK NEWS (@nknewsorg) February 6, 2018
North Korea is sending several athletes to the Winter Olympics this year, including 12 female ice hockey players who will join with South Korean athletes on a joint national hockey team.
Kim Yong Nam is expected to be the ceremonial leader of North Korea at the Games.
In another unexpected and rare move, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is sending his younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, to the Olympics. She will be the first member of the dynasty to step foot in South Korea.
She will attend as representative of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, and reportedly might bring a message from her brother for South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Kim Yo Jong is believed to be about 30 years old. She and Kim Jong Un were born to the same mother.
Some have speculated that Kim Yo Jong is being sent as part of the North Korean delegation in order to present a “warmer” image of North Korea.
Also, President Donald Trump is sending his daughter, Ivanka Trump, to the Closing Ceremonies, and experts think Kim Jong Un wants to be seen as “equal” to Trump in this regard.
The Olympics have put the relationships of the U.S., South Korea and North Korea into international spotlight.
While at face value, Kim Yo Jong’s appearance at the Games might seem like a sign of good will, it is also a distraction from the actual event and a deterrent to what has taken place between North Korea and other countries in the past year leading up to this point.
Despite the positive appearance, North Korea is expected to use the Olympics as a distraction from greater issues such as its nuclear weapons arsenal – these are so-called “charm offensives.” Historically, after such actions, North Korea often becomes aggressive and will act on that.
The Winter Olympics opening ceremony is Friday, Feb. 9, and the closing ceremony will take place on Sunday, Feb. 25.
There has been much attention given to this year’s Winter Olympics, as the event takes place on the Korean Peninsula amid ever-growing tensions between the United States and North Korea.
North Korea recently announced it would send athletes to the Winter Olympics in South Korea. It will also be sending a 230-person cheering squad.
On Jan. 3, North Korea reopened a once dormant telephone hotline that links directly to South Korea, and the two countries spoke for 20 minutes, this in advance of the historic North-South Korean meeting that took place – it was the first time negotiators met in two years.
Both North Korea and South Korea planned to re-open a second military hotline on the Korean peninsula. The red and green phone system is one of 33 direct lines that the two countries once used to communicate. The particular hotline that was reopened is located in the “truce village” of Panmunjom in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas.
On Jan. 4, following the opening of the hotline, President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed to delay scheduled joint military exercises during the Winter Olympics.
On Jan. 9, North Korea agreed to send athletes to the Winter Olympics. Earlier that day, South Korea had said it would temporarily lift sanctions on North Korea so that they could participate in the Olympic Games. South Korea also proposed at that time that North Korean athletes should march with South Korean athletes during the Winter Olympics’ Opening and Closing ceremonies.
North Korea’s delegation to the Olympics in South Korea will include athletes, a cheering squad, a performance-art troupe, observers, a taekwondo demonstration team and journalists, according to a statement from South Korean Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung.