Asia Minute: Olympic Uncertainties in Korea

Jan 16, 2018

Credit Rishabh Tatiraju / Wikipedia

It’s a little over three weeks until the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in South Korea. As long as the details can be worked out, a team from North Korea will be there. But there are a lot of other uncertainties about the North’s participation in the games. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

The Olympic Torch is making its way across South Korea, and plans are coming together for a North Korean presence at the games—from teams to cheerleaders—and of course, some officials in a government delegation, plus media. 

North and South marching together in the opening ceremonies?

It’s possible—not definite.

A lot of details need to be worked out—including where everyone is going to stay—even how people are going to cross the border.

You might think airplanes would be an obvious choice, but maybe not.

The President of the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee says North Korean athletes might be able to come by land crossing over the DMZ—the Demilitarized Zone at the border.

But he adds that others in the delegation might have to come by ship.

There is a precedent for that. In 2002, North Korea sent a group of more than 600 athletes and officials to the Asian Games in Busan mostly by way of a cruise ship.

As for accommodations, there are hotel room vacancies in the area.

The Organizing Committee says only about a third of the available rooms have been booked—although it’s not clear where the North Koreans might be staying.

It’s also not clear who will be paying the tab for all of this.

As for tickets—those are still available.

The Korea Herald reports about two-thirds of the tickets have been sold for 102 events in 15 sports at 13 different venues.