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International relations

Realism behind the Pyeongchang olive branch

More than Trump's 'maximum pressure' is needed to engage with North Korea

| North Korea
North Korea's Vice Sports Minister Won Gil-woo, left, shakes hands with South Korea's Olympic Village Mayor Kim Ki-hoon during a welcoming ceremony in Gangneung, South Korea, on Feb. 8.   © Reuters

SEOUL -- After some two years of rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the reprieve, however brief, that the upcoming Winter Olympics in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang promises to bring is more than welcome. But, with some military experts estimating that the probability of war now surpasses 50%, complacency is not an option.

After years of accelerated missile development, which culminated in successful tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles and, allegedly, a hydrogen bomb last year, North Korea's nuclear program has become an imminent threat not only to its neighbors, but also to the United States. The response of U.S. President Donald Trump's administration -- which has included unprecedented saber-rattling on Twitter -- has escalated tensions further.

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