Foreign Policy

Let the Propaganda Games Begin: North Korea Scores First in Olympic Battle

from The Wall Street Journal,

Pyongyang looks to project unity on global stage while foes remind world of its evils.

Ninety-two countries will take part in the Winter Olympics that begin Friday in the South Korean ski resort of Pyeongchang. Yet much attention will be fixed on one that failed to register any athletes and has only the faintest of medal hopes: North Korea. After a year in which Pyongyang test-launched ballistic missiles and detonated a powerful nuclear weapon in violation of United Nations resolutions, the regime of leader Kim Jong Un is trying to present a friendlier face on a stage many view as a symbol of international peace and harmony. North Korea’s success in getting into the Olympics represents a first-round win in a parallel competition: the propaganda games.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will be there for the opposing team, attending the opening ceremony with the parents of Otto Warmbier, the U.S. college student who died in June, days after he was returned to the U.S. in a coma after over a year in North Korean custody.

“We’re traveling to the Olympics to make sure that North Korea doesn’t use the powerful symbolism and the backdrop of the Winter Olympics to paper over the truth about their regime,” Mr. Pence said Monday.

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