Our North Korea expert in demand

Dr Udo Merkel, Senior Lecturer in the School of Sport and Service Management and an expert on North Korea, has been a top target for media from around the world following North Korea’s decision to engage in talks with the South and send a delegation to the Winter Olympic Games taking place in South Korea next month.

The sport sociologist has been interviewed or quoted by CNN, BBC, The Guardian, El Mundo (Spain), Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany), Neue Züricher Zeitung (Switzerland), and radio stations in Australia, South Korea and Japan.

Udo’s verdict: “North Korea is not very interested in the Winter Olympics and does not have any outstanding winter sports athletes – they did not even send a delegation to the last Games in Sochi in 2014. However, on this occasion, their participation offers a useful platform to engage in, perhaps, some serious political talks about the tense situation on the divided Korean peninsula.

“I expect that the team travelling to Pyeongchang will consist of considerably more politicians than athletes.”


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