Pacific Command chief: ‘Fair’ to criticize Olympic coverage of North Korea
The top U.S. admiral in the Pacific on Wednesday said it was “fair” to criticize the U.S. media coverage of North Korea’s participation in the Winter Olympics.
Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) asked Pacific Command chief Adm. Harry Harris during a hearing with the House Armed Services Committee about the Olympic coverage, which she called “embarrassing and disgusting.”
“It looks like they’re a tool of [North Korea’s] information warfare and their propaganda campaign and, again, naive at best,” McSally said of the U.S. media. “That fair?”
Harris responded, “That is fair.”
Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, led North Korea’s delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea over the weekend. During the trip, she had lunch with South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, during which she delivered an invitation from her brother for Moon to come to the North.
The two had also shaken hands during the opening ceremony the day before, when athletes from their countries marched together under a unification flag and took in a Saturday hockey game featuring the joint South and North Korean women’s team.
Several media outlets ran stories proclaiming Kim Yo Jong’s trip a diplomatic success, such as CNN, which ran a story on Saturday headlined “Kim Jong Un’s sister is stealing the show at the Winter Olympics.”
On Wednesday, McSally said she was “cringing” at the coverage.
“I was cringing at Kim Jong Un’s sister at the Olympics and how not only she was received, but also how she was treated by the at best naive media and the coverage of her,” she said. “She is the head of the Department of Propaganda and Agitation and responsible, as part of this brutal regime, of the lack of human rights, the death and torture of many citizens. And the fact that our media would play into this is just embarrassing and disgusting to me.”
Harris replied that North Korea was clearly engaged in a “charm offensive,” but that he believes the commander of U.S. Forces Korea, Gen. Vincent Brooks, is capable of countering that.
“Clearly a charm offensive, and I think it behooves us and our Korean allies not to be charmed and consider North Korea for the regime it is and to deal with it on the basis of fact and not charm,” Harris said. “I believe that Gen. Brooks is ideally positioned to do that and that he views this charm offensive through clear eyes.”
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.