There was much optimism leading up to the Winter Olympics as North and South Korea engaged in mutually productive negotiations. The final result of the friendliest conversation between the two adversaries in decades resulted in the North agreeing to participate in the games, while both countries combined to form a joint women's hockey team.

The cooperation was a bright spot in relations after increasingly hostile rhetoric dominated much of 2017.

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Many hoped that this would be the first step in bringing peace to the Korean peninsula. However, skeptics raised a number of objections. Younger demographics in South Korea were angry that the North was essentially hijacking the games. The attention given to the North Korean cheer squad was exhibit A to prove that the North was overstepping its welcome.

The cheer team was among around 400 North Koreans to attend the Olympics.

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Only 22 of them, however, were actually athletes participating in the games. To make matters worse, it is now reported that North Korea will not be paying for the luxury stay in Pyeonchang and it will be South Korea that is left to pick up the $2.5 million bill.

Not the first time

North Korea has pulled this stunt before. They have sent large delegations consisting of few athletes to several Southeast Asian competitions over the years.

Each time, the host nation has footed the bill as a sign of empathy towards the impoverished nation. That goodwill has constantly been tested, as, for the North, it is not about the competition, but rather, a chance for positive propaganda.

The cheerleaders, for example, have been widely discussed throughout the beginning of the Olympics.

The adulation has been so intense that the media seems to forget that these poor women are effectively held hostage while they are praising them for their beauty and intense patriotism in cheering for their nation. It should be noted that any minor misstep by these ladies during their stay will likely result in a prison sentence back home to a labor camp for them and possibly their relatives as well.

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Will things be different after the Olympics?

The unfortunate truth to dealing with North Korea is that this is exactly how they operate.

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They will gladly take whatever assistance or charity that the South can offer, with no intentions of returning the favor or showing any sort of gratitude. This has been North Korea's reputation for decades. They cannot be trusted so it is safe to assume that once the Olympics are over, things will go right back to the way they were at the end of 2017: more rhetoric, more nuclear tests, and more chances for the region to be plunged into a devastating war that will make this cheerful two week period nothing more than an anomaly.

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