‘Pyongyang Olympics’: How North Korea stole the Winter Games

Jan 2018
Winnipeg, Canada
The Moranbong Band. Photo: AP

Pyeongchang Winter Olympics 2018

‘Pyongyang Olympics’: How North Korea stole the Winter Games

Beware of pop stars bearing gifts: the arrival in Seoul of North Korean singer Hyon Song-wol is likely to be the first of many soft power salvoes aimed at stealing the South’s limelight

By David Josef Volodzko

27 Jan 2018

The procession through Seoul this week of the North Korean pop singer Hyon Song-wol, best known for her song Excellent Horse-like Lady, has inspired hopes for peace thanks to North Korea’s participation in the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Olympics – but for others, her visit conjured images of the Trojan Horse.

Arriving in a plush grey fur flanked by a delegation of severe-looking men in dark suits, Hyon visited the South for two days to inspect the venue where North Korea’s Samjiyon Orchestra will perform next month.

Her visit was just as much a soft power salvo as a logistical necessity, and South Korea media was quick to take the bait, fawning over her attire, the food she ate, the fact that she didn’t smile or the moment when she did. As a result, The Korea Times ran the headline “N. Korean band leader steals limelight”, and in a story with the heading “South Korea went gaga over a North Korean singer,” The Washington Post described her visit as “a propaganda coup for North Korea”.

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'Pyongyang 2018': How North Korea stole the Winter Games South China Morning Post 22h ago
Jul 2014
As long as the North Koreans don't send nukes down to the South, let em in on some of the limelight...