North Korea and South Korea are competing under a shared flag at the 2018 Winter Olympics. I do not believe this is a wise move from the South Korean perspective.
I suggested on Monday that North Korea and South Korea should not compete together in the Olympics because sharing a national symbol implies political unity which clearly these two countries do not share.
Another reason this is not a wise move is a moral reason to contrast with my prior political reason. North Korea is quite frankly one of the worst human rights abusers on the planet today. Like I mentioned on Monday, they have citizens running away to escape because it is so horrendous. With such a brutal, totalitarian regime in power, there is a real question as to whether or not they are somebody you want to associate with.
Even if the International Olympic Committee was okay with North Korea competing as their own country, South Korea is certainly under no obligation to associate with their neighbors. Just because they happen to share a peninsula in Asia does not obligate them to allow North Korea to join their delegation at the Olympics they are hosting.
The old saying goes that you are known by the company you keep. If I hang out with bad friends who make questionable decisions, people are going to wonder about me. Even if I don’t do anything wrong, the implications of hang out with the wrong types of people are evident in our everyday lives.
Again, like I hypothesized on Monday, I think most of the desire to combine probably comes from the reflection of the desire of the average person in North Korea and South Korea. I don’t have a statistic for you, but decreasing the tension between North Korea and South Korea would be good for most people who live in those nations. Because, even though the regime in power is terrible, many of the average North Korean people would probably love to find themselves under a much better government. Again, I don’t have a number for that statement, but I believe it is probably pretty self-evident unless there is some severe brainwashing going on in North Korea. I don’t know how people would live in that state and not desire something better.
By agreeing to cooperate with North Korea and compete under the same flag, I fear that South Korea is not forcing them to be accountable for the moral atrocities they commit against their own citizens. If South Korea made this participation contingent on certain promises being made by the North to improve living conditions or do something that would actually benefit the citizens, I would understand that. That would be bargaining, and I think something should be done with that. Sometimes cooperation must be incentivized.
If I was the decision-maker in South Korea, I think I would have serious moral qualms about uniting with such a horrible, abusive nation. I don’t see what benefits it brings to them, and I don’t know that it is good to be associated with North Korea.