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Kim Yong-nam, North Korea's nominal head of state, and Kim Yo-jong, Kim Jong-un's sister, at the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Photo: Matthias Hangst / Getty Images

After the breakneck speed of North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear tests in 2017, the two Koreas marched together in the Winter Olympics in what some analysts lauded as a diplomatic breakthrough.

Why it matters: This will be only a fleeting pause in the ongoing nuclear crisis. The real test will come after the games conclude.

Many Korea watchers are hopeful that sports diplomacy will provide a face-saving way for the two Koreas to launch a robust dialogue. However, a core concern is that Kim Jong-un will cannily use the prestige of the Olympics to sanitize North Korea’s image as a nuclear pariah state and quickly return to building out its nuclear arsenal.

The bigger picture is that North Korea’s momentum from last year remains strong. Kim Jong-un himself declared in his New Year’s address that the North would start mass producing nuclear weapons in 2018.

The bottom line: Despite the Olympic lull, the U.S. and North Korea remain on track for a confrontation from which neither side will back down. If diplomatic efforts collapse, we’ll see a dramatic increase in U.S. military pressure on North Korea to compel the regime to denuclearize. After the Olympic torch is extinguished, 2018 will likely get much rockier.

John Park is director of the Korea Working Group at the Harvard Kennedy School. Pamela Park is co-head of the Brookbridge Group.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Congressman criminally charged with lying to feds

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) has been indicted on charges he falsified records and lied to federal investigators probing an illegal foreign donation scheme, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

Driving the news: DOJ says a Fortenberry associate, who later cooperated with investigators, informed him he'd likely received illegal donations from an intermediary for a foreign national, but that Fortenberry denied any knowledge of such a scheme when contacted by the FBI.

"Assassin's Creed," but for schools

"Viking Age: Discovery Tour." Image via Ubisoft

For the third time since 2018, Ubisoft is releasing a nonviolent version of its latest “Assassin’s Creed” game as part of a unique effort to turn one of the medium’s most popular series into an educational tool.

Driving the news:Viking Age: Discovery Tour” transforms last year’s “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” from a bloody 150-hour game about Viking conquest in 9th century England into a peaceful four-hour game about merchants and monks.

School enrollment fell by almost 3 million from 2019 to 2020

Kindergarten student Natalia Bayoumi holds the hand of her father Amir Bayoumi as he walks to the front door of Normont Elementary School in Harbor City, CA. Photo: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The number of individuals enrolled in the U.S. education system dropped by 2.9 million from 2019 to 2020, according to new data released Tuesday by the Census Bureau.

Why it matters: This marks the lowest level of school enrollment for those under 35 years-old in over 20 years, per the Census Bureau.

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