The preparations for the upcoming 23rd Winter Olympic Games in in South Korea’s Pyeongchang are ongoing amid the growing security concerns as some countries warned that they would not send their teams to the event if they deem that the situation on the peninsula poses a threat.
Dr David Lowe, a security and counterterrorism consultant, told Radio Sputnik however that while such concerns are understandable, given the close proximity of the Olympic Games venue to the North Korean border and the current tensions between Pyongyang and Washington, he’d be “really surprised” if North Korea actually carries some form of attack during the event.
"I think the big concern will be individuals or, if you like, a terrorist type of attack will be the main concern," he said.
Dr Lowe pointed out that while North Korea is certainly capable of carrying out some sort of a provocative action during the Olympics, whether Pyongyang would actually want to do something like that is a whole different matter.
"If there was any action authorized by North Korea at those games, and you have citizens from all over the world representing those states, you could argue that basically they’d declare that action not just against South Korea but most of the states within the world," he said, adding that such a move might result in Pyongyang losing the rapport of those few countries it counts among its friends.
At the same time, Lowe added, North Korea’s participation in the event might actually help defuse tensions on the peninsula.
"If there’s anything about sport, it can actually start to unite people. And I would hope that North Korea would send some athletes and participate in the Olympic spirit; it could help diminish [tensions]. But you know, it’s very difficult – you’re dealing with North Korea and it’s quite difficult to understand what its motives are; at the end of the day, it can be quite unpredictable."