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North Korea Skaters Seek Olympic Bid, and Diplomats Cheer

The easiest route is for athletes from North Korea to qualify.From mid-June through mid-August, the North Korean pair of Ms. Ryom, 18, and Mr. Kim, 25, trained in Montreal, refining their attempt to claim one of five Olympic spots available here at this week’s Nebelhorn Trophy competition.Continue reading the main storyThe skaters, their coach and a North Korean skating official spoke frequently about the Olympics, said Bruno Marcotte, a prominent French Canadian coach who worked with the pair.“All the time they would ask me: ‘Do you think we have a chance to qualify? Are we good enough? What do we need to qualify?’” Mr. Marcotte said of the pair, who aspire to become one of the world’s top 10 teams.“They didn’t want to talk about politics,” said Mr. Marcotte, who is also here assisting the North Koreans. “It was all about sport and being the first ones in the Olympics and breaking barriers and doing their best.”It is a widely held feeling among South Korean politicians and Olympic officials, as well as some international athletes, that the Games would be safer with North Korea’s participation, lessening security concerns and perhaps spurring slow ticket sales.In that view, Kim Jong-un, the unpredictable North Korean leader, would be less likely to act provocatively if athletes from his country were competing in the Olympics, alongside those of China, North Korea’s benefactor.PhotoFlags, including those of North Korea and South Korea, hang over a rink in Oberstdorf.Credit Jun Michael Park for The New York Times“It’s kind of an insurance policy to have them there,” said Ted Ligety, a two-time gold medalist in Alpine skiing from the United States.Of course, there is no way to predict what the political situation will be on the Korean Peninsula in four months, when the Olympics take place about 40 miles from the demilitarized zone that separates North and South.Continue reading the main storyAnd there is no guarantee that North Korea will participate […]

News Analysis: In North Korea, ‘Surgical Strike’ Could Spin Into ‘Worst Kind of Fighting’

Opening SalvosNorth and South Korea, separated by the world’s most heavily armed border, have had more than half a century to prepare for a resumption of the war that was suspended in 1953. While the North’s weaponry is less advanced, the South suffers a distinct geographical disadvantage: Nearly half its population lives within 50 miles of the Demilitarized Zone, including the 10 million people in Seoul, its capital.“You have this massive agglomeration of everything that is important in South Korea — government, business and the huge population — and all of it is in this gigantic megalopolis that starts 30 miles from the border and ends 70 miles from the border,” said Robert E. Kelly, a professor of political science at Pusan National University in South Korea. “In terms of national security, it’s just nuts.”North Korea has positioned as many as 8,000 artillery cannons and rocket launchers on its side of the Demilitarized Zone, analysts say, an arsenal capable of raining up to 300,000 rounds on the South in the first hour of a counterattack. That means it can inflict tremendous damage without resorting to weapons of mass destruction.Mr. Kim could order a limited response, by hitting a base near the Demilitarized Zone, for example, and then pausing before doing more. But most analysts expect the North would escalate quickly if attacked, to inflict as much damage as possible in case the United States and South Korea were preparing an invasion.“North Korea knows it is the end game and will not go down without a fight,” said Jeffrey W. Hornung of the RAND Corporation, adding, “I think it is going to be a barrage.”The North has often threatened to turn Seoul into a “sea of fire,” but the vast majority of its artillery has a range of three to six miles and cannot reach the city, analysts say.The North has deployed at least three systems, though, that can reach the Seoul metropolitan area: Koksan 170-millimeter guns and 240-millimeter multiple-rocket launchers capable of hitting the northern suburbs and parts of the city, and 300-millimeter multiple-rocket launchers, which may be able to hit targets beyond Seoul.Newsletter Sign UpContinue reading the main storyThank you for subscribing.An error has occurred. Please try again later.You are already subscribed to this email.View all New York Times newsletters.There are perhaps 1,000 such weapons near the Demilitarized Zone, many hidden in caves, tunnels and bunkers. […]

In South Korea, Defense Secretary Mattis Tries to Reassure an Ally

NYT

Here is the original post: In South Korea, Defense Secretary Mattis Tries to Reassure an Ally

Strong Earthquake Shakes New Zealand

By REUTERS | Nov. 13, 2016 | 1:03Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand said there were two fatalities in the wake of an earthquake that rocked the island nation early Monday, generating tsunami waves that forced residents in low-lying areas to seek higher ground.Related: article: New Zealand Struck by Powerful Earthquake article: Powerful Earthquake Strikes New Zealand, Killing 2 People […]

In Seoul, Two Hanoks Make a Modern Home

An art professor and preservationist combined history and modernity in two traditional wooden structures. […]

In Seoul, Two Hanoks Make a Modern Home

An art professor and preservationist combined history and modernity in two traditional wooden structures. […]

On Location: A New Home in Seoul Looks to the Past

A new home in Seoul honors tradition while keeping up with the times. […]