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A Korean Olympic Dilemma: Do Hockey Sticks Violate U.N. Sanctions?

As of Wednesday night, the South had now not made up our minds whether or not to offer the gasoline. “We will closely discuss with the United States and other related nations the matter of providing convenience to the Mangyongbong ferry so that no problem regarding sanctions would occur,” mentioned Baik Tae-hyun, a spokesman for the Unification Ministry, which is in command of members of the family with the North.

Since remaining month, when North Korea agreed to ship 22 athletes and hundreds of supporters to the Olympics, sanctions questions have again and again vexed organizers within the South.

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A constitution airplane introduced North Korean Olympic athletes into the South remaining week. Planes are most often barred from touchdown within the United States for 6 months after a discuss with to North Korea, however Seoul requested Washington to make an exception for this one.

Credit
Woohae Cho/Getty Images

Samsung, the South Korean electronics corporate that is among the Olympic sponsors, donated four,000 Galaxy Note eight telephones for athletes and officers on the Games. It have been a welcome and uncontroversial perk — till North Korea made up our minds to return.

Then the query arose: Would the $1,100 smartphones violate the United Nations ban on exporting luxurious items to the North? What’s extra, may just they be outlined as one of the most “dual use” items which can be banned as a result of they might doubtlessly serve army functions?

Some Olympic officers prompt that the North Koreans may just use the telephones whilst in Pyeongchang, and go back them prior to going house.

But in spite of everything, it appeared a moot level: The athletes’ minders from the North Korean govt have been not going to allow them to use telephones with unfettered, high-speed get entry to to the web, which might be strictly forbidden of their remoted house nation. South Korean officers mentioned the athletes have been not going to obtain the telephones.

The sanctions downside even extends to hockey sticks. Last 12 months, when North Korea’s ice hockey team introduced battered picket sticks to a global match in Auckland, New Zealand, organizers introduced them with high-tech carbon fiber apparatus. But the North Koreans needed to give it again prior to going house, for the reason that luxurious items ban in particular comprises “recreational sports equipment.”

The similar answer can be carried out in Pyeongchang, the place the 2 Koreas are to box a joint women’s hockey team. The International Ice Hockey Federation will lend new Finnish sticks to the North Korean avid gamers, to be returned after the Games.

What’s extra, the hockey workforce will put on uniforms made by way of a Finnish corporate — now not by way of Nike, every other Olympic sponsor — for concern of violating United States sanctions. (It has additionally been reported that the North Koreans didn’t wish to put on American-made uniforms.)

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North and South Korean skiers coaching on the Masik Pass hotel within the North remaining week. The hotel is among the North Korean chief Kim Jong-un’s signature initiatives.

Credit
Yonhap, by way of Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

South Korean officers have taken pains to seek advice from their American allies as they pursue their sports activities détente with the North.

Last week, South Korea sought and used to be granted an exception from Washington after an Asiana Airlines constitution airplane took South Korean avid gamers to North Korea for joint coaching, and returned to the South with North Korean Olympic athletes. Normally, planes are barred from touchdown within the United States for 6 months after a discuss with to North Korea. (Asiana used an Airbus jet, now not an American Boeing, for the shuttle.)

The joint ski coaching used to be held at North Korea’s Masik Pass hotel, a call that drew heated grievance from South Korean conservatives. The hotel is among the signature initiatives of the North’s chief, Kim Jong-un, who has ostentatiously provided it with snowmobiles and different items of sports activities apparatus thought to be luxuries within the impoverished North.

The aggregate of the ever-tightening global sanctions and the North’s standard unpredictability has been a specific supply of rigidity for South Korean officers.

North Korea didn’t disclose till the remaining minute who can be incorporated in its govt delegation to the Olympics, resulting in worries that it could take a look at South Korea by way of seeking to ship one of the most best officers blacklisted by way of Washington. Those fears have been borne out when the names have been introduced on Wednesday: Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, who is a part of the delegation, used to be blacklisted by the United States Treasury in January 2017 over accusations that she used to be fascinated about North Korea’s “ongoing and serious human rights abuses and censorship activities.”

Another member of the delegation, Choe Hwi, chairman of the North’s National Sports Guidance Committee, used to be put at the similar sanctions checklist, in addition to at the United Nations Security Council sanctions checklist.

South Korean officers mentioned Thursday that they have been speaking with Washington and the United Nations to transparent the North Koreans’ discuss with to the South. They mentioned the North Korean delegates’ discuss with would lend a hand cut back tensions.

On Tuesday, because the Mangyongbong pulled into Mukho Port in South Korea, other people waved indicators welcoming its arrival. But conservative protesters tore and burned North Korean flags and shouted, “Go back!”

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