The Santa Clara
February 15, 2018
North Korea has failed to win any event at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics so far. But they are still trying to use the games as a glorified publicity stunt for the political regime.
Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of leader Kim Jong Un, was in attendance at the opening ceremony.
The last time South Korea hosted an Olympic Games, in 1988, the North boycotted it and tried so hard to one-up the South that it drove its own economy into despair and its people into starvation.
The country held the 13th “World Festival of Youth and Students” in 1989 and hosted delegates from 177 countries for a week of exhibitions and performances.
They built a 105 story hotel that was never completed or occupied, an Arc de Triomphe replica, marble-lined subway stations, a massive stadium with a 150,000 spectator capacity and imported over 1,000 Mercedes Benzs for foreign diplomats.
All this cost billions of dollars which is much more than the impoverished nation could afford.
Now, the North attempts to use the games to bolster its international image and show the world a different side of the country. This time, however, it seeks to do so free of charge.
On Feb. 10, Kim Yo Jong met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at South Korea’s presidential palace, the Blue House, and extended an invite for Moon to visit North Korea and meet her brother.
Kim Yo Jong was met with a flurry of cameras and spectators.
Jong made it on the front page of most media outlets in the world.
Even the North Korean cheerleaders aren’t spared from the country’s propaganda, as all 200 of them wore masks that resembled the countries first dictator Kim Ilsung at the women’s ice hockey game against Switzerland.
The Korean joint team faced a crushing 8-0 defeat. What the country doesn’t realize is that no amount of propaganda will overshadow the oppressive actions of the regime.
In fact, there are less than 100 North Korean athletes at the games but around 500 North Koreans in Pyeongchang right now.
The athletes are escorted by huge security teams that guard them 24/7 to prevent them from defecting, essentially making them captives of the state.
Han Seo Hee, an ex-cheerleader who defected to South Korea in 2006, said athletes are unlikely to defect because their families will be punished for it back home in the North.
While the North attempts to paint a pretty picture of itself at the Olympic Games, it falls flat. Just like it did in 1989.
Jay Mehta is a sophomore economics major.