7 Ways North Korea Has Already Impacted the 2018 Winter Olympics (Including Its Nuclear War Threats)

You can’t hear about the 2018 Winter Olympics without hearing about North Korea. With tensions rising between North Korea and the rest of the world (especially the U.S.), it’s hard not to consider the way this volatile country’s going to impact the winter games.

1. North Korea wished South Korea success in hosting the games

People walk past in front of the electric board shows the number of days left

Both countries are hopeful that this is a breakthrough. | Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Not all the news surrounding North Korea and the Olympics is terrifying. In fact, North Korea even wished South Korea success in hosting the games. “On the same day that North Korea wished success for the upcoming 2018 Winter Games in South Korea, Olympic leaders expressed confidence that the global sporting event can reach ‘beyond all political division,'” reads The Bulletin. What’s more, North Korea will now be sending Olympic athletes to the games, which is a huge breakthrough.

Next: South Korea’s rolling out the red carpet for North Korea. 

2. South Korea offered to send a cruise ship to pick up North Korean athletes

South and North Korea meet to discuss Olympics

They’re putting in the effort for their neighbors to the north. | AFP/Getty Images

South Korea is really pulling out all the stops to make North Korea feel welcome. They’ve even offered to send a cruise ship to Wonsan to pick up North Korea’s athletes, officials, and cheering squad, reports The Telegraph.

Next: A U.S. senator makes a problematic threat 

3. A U.S. senator said the U.S. should boycott the games if North Korea participates

Lindsey Graham Tweet North Korea Olympics

He has no actual say in the matter though. | Lindsey Graham via Twitter

“Allowing Kim Jong Un’s North Korea to participate in would give legitimacy to the most illegitimate regime on the planet. I’m confident South Korea will reject this absurd overture and fully believe that if North Korea goes to the Winter Olympics, we do not,” tweeted Senator Lindsey Graham. For the record, Senator Graham does not have the authority to say whether American athletes compete in the games or not.

Next: The U.S. is a big part of the problem.  

4. U.S. – North Korea tensions


His methods of diplomacy are unusual to say the least. | Donald J. Trump via Twitter

“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” tweeted the President of the United States. Need we say more?

Next: History repeats itself

5. This isn’t the first time there’s been safety concerns at the Olympics

2014 Winter Olympic Games - Sochi, Russia

The risk was extremely high during the games. | Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Even as recent as the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, there were major terrorism concerns. Both U.S. law makers and American media reported that the probability of an attack in Russia during the Olympics was very high. An Islamist group based nearby threatened an attack on the games.

“I’ve never seen a greater threat certainly in my lifetime,” said Michael McCaul, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman.

Next: Why Olympic ticket sales are so low 

6. Ticket sales are down because North Korea is so close

Members of the Mongolian ski team take selfies with the Olympic Rings on the beach at Gangneung

Ticket sales are not what they had expected. | Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Ticket sales are especially low for the 2018 Winter Olympics. As of December 10, the Olympic committee had only sold 55% of their tickets. Potential Olympic spectators seem to be concerned about safety with North Korea being only 60 miles away from Pyeongchang.

Next: All of South Korea would be devastated in the event of a nuclear showdown.  

7. The nuclear war threat

A South Korean soldier walks past the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games

It’s a scary time to be in the middle of North Korea and the U.S. | Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

With the U.S. President egging Kim Jong Un on, and the general tension between North Korea and the rest of the world, the threat of nuclear war isn’t too far fetched.

“Panic about violence at the 2014 Olympics may seem quaint heading into the 2018 version, which will be conducted under the specter of a genuine nuclear showdown — all of South Korea would be devastated, by any account, in the event of a military conflagration between the United States and North Korea,” says New York Magazine.

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