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    An ice sculpture of the Olympic rings is seen during the Pyeongchang Winter Festival, near the venue for the opening and closing ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, February 10, 2017

    Why Security Concerns Over 2018 Winter Olympics in S Korea Hold No Water

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    Tensions on the Korean Peninsula over Pyongyang's drive to continue nuclear tests show no sign of abating. Some sports officials in France, Austria and Germany have already voiced security fears ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea. A Shanghai-based political analyst has told Sputnik that there is no reason for anxiety.

    Speaking on condition of anonymity, an analyst at Fudan University in Shanghai, who is also a visiting professor at Johns Hopkins University's Academy for International Affairs, said that "Everyone is looking forward to the Winter Olympics, which will be held in South Korea for the first time."

    "Looking at how the security situation in Northeast Asia is developing, we can safely say that the tense atmosphere in the region won’t affect the holding of the Winter Olympics in South Korea's Pyeongchang," the analyst said, citing the willingness of all sides to show restraint.

    This explains why, even at the most complicated moment in the situation in Northeast Asia, it is possible to avoid "unleashing a war," according to the analyst, who also pointed to US President Donald Trump softening his stance on North Korea.

    Olympic Park in Pyeongchang
    © Sputnik/ Ramil Sitdikov
    Olympic Park in Pyeongchang

    The political scientist added that considering Trump's current position on the matter and his seeking cooperation with Russia and China, "one can safely assume that the US is not giving up the search for a diplomatic solution to the North Korean problem."

    "Thirdly, Olympic Games are [generally] viewed as a symbol of peace. Since DPRK actions have always been a response to the behavior of the United States, Japan and South Korea, we should not overdramatize the situation in this regard," the analyst said.

    This standpoint was echoed by Alexander Zhilin, head of the Moscow-based Research Center for Public Applied Problems of National Security think tank, who told Sputnik that speculation about Pyongyang's possible nuclear missile provocations on the eve or during the 2018 Winter Olympics are ungrounded and politically biased.   

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    According to him, all neighboring countries, including the DPRK, are interested in proper organization of the Pyeongchang Games.
    Zhilin described the North Korean leader as "not the kind of a person who can arrange something to finally set the whole international world community against himself."

    "He clearly identified the enemy, namely, the US and its money, so I would not talk about North Korea posing a threat to the 2018 Winter Olympics. The danger that during the event the DPRK will make some kind of provocation in the nuclear missile sphere is minimal," he said.

    In this vein, Zhilin mentioned China which he said "is playing a huge role in containing the escalation of tension around the DPRK." He said that Beijing will do its utmost to contribute to a safe and successful Olympics in South Korea.

    "We understand perfectly well that North Korea is being played in Washington as an anti-Chinese card," he said, adding that China "has all the levers to ensure the safety of the 2018 Winter Olympics."

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    Tags:
    stance, situation, development, response, security, cooperation, 2018 Winter Olympic Games, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), South Korea
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