What is behind North Korea's cancellation of joint cultural performance with South Korea

북 금강산 남북합동문화공연 취소북한에 따른 의도 및 정부 대처 방향

This isn't the first time the hermit kingdom pulled the rug from under us last minute.
But instead of letting our emotions get the better of us, it would be more constructive to plan our next step.
Cha Sang-mi turns the spotlight to factors that may have led to the decision, and how the South Korean government should deal with Pyongyang on inter-Korean matters.
Pyongyang claims its sudden cancellation of the joint cultural event scheduled for February 4th is a response to South Korean media reports that were critical of North Korea's behavior, and is a reflection of the North's disappointment.
This is not the first time North Korea has called off an event before the PyeongChang Olympics, as the regime pulled the plug last minute on a trip by their delegation last week to inspect performance venues in South Korea for their art troupe. However, that trip eventually went ahead the following day.

Some experts say the regime wants to create a fissure between Seoul and Washington as the two allies are both pushing for Pyongyang's denuclearization.

"The North Korean leadership seems to be trying to shake up the Moon Jae-in government to see.. first to register its discontent and second to see if this gambit may create a divide between South Korea and the United States.

Yet others say it's an operational issue, not a diplomatic gesture.

"The Mount Kumgang Cultural Performance Center has been shut for the last decade and the facilities are very outdated. Pyongyang is worried about the operational issues involved in hosting an event for a 300-strong South Korean delegation."

Tours to Mount Kumgang have been banned since 2008 after a South Korean tourist was shot by a North Korean soldier.

Experts say that the South Korean government should no longer make any additional concessions or accommodations to North Korea's flip-flopping behavior since such moves will only create more incentives for North Korea to try to manipulate the South Korean government.
And some said there is a need for a stronger push.

"North Korea is trying to manipulate us. And the South Korean government needs to take a stronger stance on the matter since the North's participation in the PyeongChang Olympics is actually just a minimal part."

According to experts, North Korea may make more such changes to the agreements made with South Korea, but Seoul should not detach itself from the ultimate purpose - the denuclearization of the regime.
Cha Sang-mi, Arirang News.

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