South Korea’s government is telling high-profile North Korean defectors such as Thae Yong-ho to “cool it” by not engaging in public criticism of Pyongyang during February’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
The Chosun Ilbo also reports that Seoul intends to stay low-key when South Korea takes delivery of new F-35A fighter jets purchased from the US.
The newspaper says the South Korean government’s efforts to set a “festive mood of rapprochement” with the North contrasts with a huge military parade that Pyongyang plans to hold just before the Games begin – “suggesting that the appeasement is all one way.”
On the advice conveyed to Northern defectors, one South Korean government source reportedly said: “The request was ostensibly made out of concern for their safety, but it sounded like a warning not to pour cold water on the event.”
A military source was also cited as saying that Seoul had also nixed plans to send out “a congratulatory message marking the handover of the next-generation F-35A fighter jet in Texas in late March.”
The aforementioned Thae Yong-ho has been described as one of the highest-ranking North Korean officials ever to defect.