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更新时间:2018-1-19 16:16:37 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Olympic Détente Upends U.S. Strategy on North Korea

SEOUL, South Korea — North and South Korea reached an agreement Wednesday for their athletes to march together under one flag at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics next month, a powerful gesture of reconciliation that further complicates President Donald Trump’s strategy for dealing with the nuclear-armed government of Kim Jong Un.

韩国首尔——朝鲜和韩国周三达成协议,两国运动员将在下月举行的冬季奥运会开幕式上在同一个旗帜下入场。这个强有力的和解表示,让唐纳德·特朗普(Donald Trump)总统应对拥有核武器的金正恩政府的战略变得更加复杂。

South Korea, the host of the games, said it hoped a partnership in sports could contribute to a political thaw after years of high tensions on the Korean Peninsula. It came even as the prospect of war over the North’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests has loomed large.


For the White House, however, the budding détente scrambles its strategy of pressuring the North, with sanctions and threats of military action, to give up its nuclear arsenal. This latest gesture of unity, the most dramatic in a decade, could add to fears in Washington that Pyongyang is making progress on a more far-reaching agenda.


White House officials warn that the ultimate goal of Kim is to evict U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula and to reunify the two Koreas under a single flag. They have cited that long-held goal to buttress their argument that Kim cannot be deterred peacefully as the Soviet Union was during the Cold War.


While a onetime Olympics ceremony is hardly a step toward reunification, the image of athletes marching behind a “unified Korea” flag is a symbolic manifestation of what worries Trump’s aides. And the prospect of crowds from North and South Korea cheering together would be a striking contrast to the threats of war from Trump.


The White House this week welcomed the announcement but played down its significance, noting that it was not the first time that athletes from the two Koreas had competed together.


“Let’s hope that the experience gives the North Korean athletes a small taste of freedom and that it rubs off,” said Michael Anton, a spokesman for the National Security Council. “North Korean propaganda is in a category all its own,” he added. “It is not surprising that North Korea is sending more cheerleaders and musicians than athletes.”

“我们希望,这个经历让朝鲜运动员尝到一点自由的滋味,对他们有所影响,”美国国家安全委员会(National Security Council)发言人迈克尔·安东(Michael Anton)说。“朝鲜的宣传举世无双,”他补充说。“朝鲜这次派遣的啦啦队和乐队的人数比运动员还多,这并不让人吃惊。”

That emphasis on propaganda, other officials said, was in keeping with North Korea’s longer-term goal of reunification.


In addition to marching together, the two Koreas will field a joint women’s hockey team at the games, which begin on Feb. 9 in Pyeongchang. It will be the first time the two countries have combined for an Olympics, and the first unified team of any kind since their athletes played together in a table tennis championship and a youth soccer tournament in 1991.


The Olympic agreement could bolster President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, who has been pushing for dialogue with the North. “This will be a great opportunity to thaw the frozen relations,” he said during a visit to the training camp for South Korean athletes.


“If we unify our team with the North’s, it won’t necessarily improve our team’s strength very much,” Moon said. “It will even require extra efforts to build up teamwork with the North Korean players. But if the two Koreas unify their teams and play a great match together, that itself will be long remembered as a historic moment.”


Few expected that the breakthrough in sports diplomacy would lead to a broader relaxation of the decades-old standoff over the North’s nuclear weapon programs. But it provided a welcome reprieve for South Koreans who have grown alarmed and weary over the tensions and relentless talk of war.


Trump has threatened the North with “fire and fury like the world has never seen,” should it put the security of Americans and their allies at risk, while Kim has called Trump a lunatic.


Despite its wariness, the White House has been careful not to dismiss the talks between the North and the South, provided the two sides stick to issues like security at the Olympics. Trump said on Wednesday that he would be open to talks with Kim himself, though he questioned the value of such a meeting.


“I’d sit down, but I’m not sure that sitting down will solve the problem,” Trump said in an interview with Reuters.


He warned that while North Korea was not yet capable of delivering a ballistic missile to the United States, “they’re close — and they get closer every day.” In the interview, Trump was uncharacteristically critical of Russia, saying it had weakened the global sanctions against North Korea, even as China was doing more.


For the United States, the fear has been that North Korea’s gestures will drive a wedge between it and its ally, South Korea. So far, the two allies have stayed in sync, said Daniel R. Russel, who served as assistant secretary of state for East Asian affairs in the Obama administration.

美国的担心是,朝鲜作出的姿态会在美国及其盟友韩国之间制造隔阂。不过,这两个盟友到目前为止一直仍保持同步,曾在奥巴马政府负责东亚事务的助理国务卿丹尼尔·R·拉塞尔(Daniel R. Russel)说。

“But it will be harder and harder to insure that South Korea and the U.S. stay closely aligned,” he said. “You have a fundamental tension between a progressive government in Seoul and a hawkish government in Washington.”


Moon proposed in June that the two Koreas form a unified team for the Olympics, but the suggestion was not taken seriously until Kim used his New Year’s Day speech to propose dialogue with the South and to discuss his country’s participation in the games.