UBC Professor of Global Affairs, Paul Evans, told BCIT News that he finds this outset peculiar. He said that while sport is usually seen as an apolitical venture, North Korea is akin to governing any international interaction.
“I think people make their own decisions or whether they want to go to North Korea, but they can’t assume that the North Korean interests in this are purely sporting.
Normally, these sport activities take place after you’ve got some kind of diplomatic opening. Right now, we don’t have any diplomatic opening with North Korea.” – Paul Evans, UBC Professor in Public and Global Affairs
Reichel recalled that he was able to organize the Pyongyang Cup after several years of strengthening his relationships with the North Korean hockey league. He helped produce a documentary called Closing The Gap about the Men’s National Team. As part of the film, he followed the players on an excursion to New Zealand, where he also served as a translator.
Canadians have organized sporting events in Pyongyang before. This includes Michael Spavor, one of the two Canadians currently detained in China for reconnaissance accusations.
Evans likened the Inertia Network’s venture to a private entrepreneurial vision as opposed to an effort that aligns with Canada’s diplomatic objectives.