The Dear Reader: DPRK Observations & Musings


Grab Kim by the Soccer Balls

The Cheonan incident seems to have been culled from the well-worn page of an even more familiar play book: North Korea breaks away free towards the South Korean goal thanks to a non-called Yellow Card move, its superior opponent gets scored upon and World Referees then take to cautiously reviewing the tape to make a difficult call.

But as the U.S., China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, the United Nations, qualified pundits, unqualified pundits and more debate what should be done next in the wake of the egregious March 26th Cheonan attack, I have a personal suggestion, from my own play book. Threaten to immediately revoke North Korea‘s eligibility for the 2010 World Cup of Soccer.

Yes, I know, generally speaking the separation of sports and politics is a principle as sacrosanct as the division of church and state. But North Korea‘s fatal torpedoing of a South Korean destroyer is as good a reason as any to consider an exception to this rule. We are all familiar with the Olympics and drug testing, but isn’t it time for the world to consider adding in to global-scale events such as this summer’s South African gathering the separate concept of thug testing?

I have a sneaking suspicion that if you suddenly told Kim Jong-il that North Korea could no longer plan on taking part in the two-and-a-half-dozen country tourney unless it returned to the Six-Party talks with Cheonan apology & reparations in tow, North Korea would be forced to respond as propitiously as Bill Clinton did to that personal invite last summer. There is always the risk that the Hermit Kingdom, as it likes to do with UN sanctions, would turn the World Cup Soccer ban into more poor-us internal propaganda.

But surely, at this stage of the geopolitical game, a FIFA-FU is worth a shot.


Filed under: Cheonan, Commentary

8 Responses

  1. Frank Kim says:

    It’s not a bad idea.

  2. nikc says:

    Nice idea but FIFA is more powerful than the UN. Not going to happen

    • Not sure FIFA is more powerful than the UN, but barring their assistance, perhaps South Korean broadcaster SBS – which holds World Cup 2010 broadcast rights for the entire Korean Peninsula – can withhold the TV feed entirely.

      Last week, the South Korean government indicated that it was no longer willing to allow an SBS to simply hand over the TV feed to North Korea for free, as has been done before. Rather, it wants them to pay fair market value:

  3. Interesting: Non-profit @OpenDoors is pushing a “Blow the Whistle” campaign tied to the World Cup. For NK, they want individual fans to hold two minutes of silence in remembrance of Christians persecuted in the country.

  4. Spelunker says:

    First of all I find it ironic that an organization calling itself “Blow the Whistle” is asking for 2 minutes of silence. What the hell is that going to accomplish?
    Here’s a better idea: Print World Cup official referee yellow cards with Kim Jong-il’s picture beneath a huge red X. Distribute these cards at each arena in South Africa where North Korea plays a match.
    If just one fan pulls it out and shoves it in front of a live global television broadcast camera then that will be far more effective.
    On the back of the card you can have the message about Christians being persecuted across North Korea in both English and Korean. This will be handy when a crusading World Cup fan slips these cards under the doors of certain rooms at the Protea Hotel Midrand.

    • Or perhaps one of these Christian activists should streak onto the field in full Kim Jong-il uniform and glasses, trailing a white flag inscribed with the letters “D-P-R-Kaput.”

      I have a feeling that would get on the six o’clock news.

  5. Newly released documents show that the UK soccer ruling body (FA) thought out loud in 1966 memos about banning NK from World Cup Soccer finals round, but decided consequence – e.g. Fifa taking it away – would be too much.

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