Korea is on the minds of many around the world this month. But for the first time in a while, it is not the threat of war between the north and the south that dominates our minds. In fact, North Korea and South Korea’s relationship is experiencing a rare thaw as the Winter Olympics play out in PyeongChang, South Korea.
The opening ceremonies featured teams from both countries marching into the stadium under a unified Korean flag, and the women’s hockey team playing in the winter games includes players from both the north and the south.
Lake Effect foreign policy contributor Art Cyr says he’s hopeful the Winter Olympics might caused a prolonged thaw between North Korea and the rest of the world.
"Sports, along with culture, are neutral - and a way to develop new friends and new associations," he says.
Cyr believes North Korea, like many countries, is using the Olympics as a tool for propaganda. But unlike the stereotypical propaganda associated with the Kim regime, this is an outward facing effort to seem more convivial to other nations.
Cyr says, "The North is much more calculating than they seem and their survival, eventually - and they know this - depends on, if not jump-starting, doing something to get their moribund economy off life support from China and - to some extent - Russia."