South Korea will host the 2018 XXIII Winter Games in less than three months. The event will be held in PyeongChang, located about 40 miles from the border with North Korea. An estimated 2,500 athletes from 90 nations will be participating in 102 Games, which are expected to attract large crowds, with locals accounting for 70 percent of prospective attendees and foreigners the remaining 30 percent.
Although South Korea is ordinarily a low-risk country for most visitors, the Winter Olympics is taking place at a time of heightened global tensions with North Korea, raising the ire of possible aggression from Pyongyang against its southern neighbour. Historically, the threat of violence at the Olympic Games is not uncommon; Chechen Islamist militants threatened the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. During the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, a man wielding a knife killed an American businessman and wounded his wife and their tour guide. But the threat from North Korea is atypical; whereas Russia deployed 40,000 security personnel to protect the Sochi games, South Korea’s threat originates from a heavily militarised and nuclear-armed state that increasingly feels itself under attack internationally. North Korea indeed can carry out a destructive attack, but does it have the intent?
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