In the News – North Korean official to organizers: No more flag mistakes

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In the News – North Korean official to organizers: No more flag mistakes

By Chris Clark, AP

The North Korean women’s soccer team sings the national anthem before the group G match between Colombia and North Korea.

Chang Ung expressed his disappointment Thursday after theSouth Korean flag was mistakenly displayed on the giant screen before the women’s soccer game between North Korea and Colombia in Glasgow, Scotland, on Wednesday night.

The North Koreans refused to take the field for about an hour before the match went ahead. London organizers apologized.

“This should not have happened,” Chang told The Associated Press. “I am really surprised how … the London Olympic team, the protocol people, didn’t invite someone from the team to check if it is your flag.”

Chang proposed that Olympic protocol officials meet with team leaders before each medal ceremony to check that the correct flags and anthems are being used.

“With 302 medal awarding ceremonies, if something bad happened, that’s damaging for the IOC,” he said. “Beforehand, the protocol people should invite the team leader or captain to come up.”

Asked whether he was satisfied with the apology from London organizers, Chang said: “They apologized to the national team, that’s enough.”

Earlier, speaking during the final session of the IOC general assembly, Chang said the flag incident wasn’t a big political issue but further mix-ups could have negative political consequences for the Olympic movement.

IOC President Jacques Rogge responded that organizers had moved to fix the problem.

“This was a most unfortunate incident,” Rogge said. “I can assure you the organizing committee has taken corrective action so that this will not happen in the future. There is no political connotation in that. It was just a simple human mistake.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron echoed Rogge.

“This was an honest mistake, honestly made. An apology has been made, and I’m sure every step will be taken to make sure these things don’t happen again,” he said during a visit to the Olympic Park. “We shouldn’t over-inflate this episode. It was unfortunate, it shouldn’t have happened, and I think we can leave it at that.”

FIFA President Sepp Blatter also downplayed the flag dispute.

“This is such a minor incident which has been settled in the meantime and presented now here also in the IOC,” Blatter said. “I think it is more important to go to sport. As the representative of North Korea said, it’s not a political issue. I am happy about that.”

Original Article 

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In the News – (Olympics) N. Korean football match delayed after S. Korean flag displayed

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In the News – (Olympics) N. Korean football match delayed after S. Korean flag displayed

LONDON, July 25 (Yonhap) — A women’s football contest at the London Olympics between North Korea and Colombia was delayed by about an hour Wednesday after organizers mistakenly displayed the South Korean national flag on the scoreboard.

North Korean players refused to take the field after the flag row took place during player introductions at Hampden Park in Glasgow. Organizers apologized for the mishap.

“Today, ahead of the women’s football match at Hampden Park, the Republic of Korea flag was shown on a big-screen video package instead of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea flag,” the organizing committee said in a statement, referring to the two Koreas by their official names. “Clearly, that is a mistake. We will apologize to the team and the National Olympic Committee and steps will be taken to ensure this does not happen again.”

The North Korean women’s football substitutes leave the technical area on July 25, 2012, because of a delay before their Group G match against in Colombia in Glasgow. (AP=Yonhap)

The match, the opening Group G action, started an hour and five minutes late. North Korea won the game 2-0.

The flag flap comes amid heightened tension on the divided Korean Peninsula. Affects of strained ties have carried over into the realms of athletics here in London. North Korean officials have blocked South Korean media from covering their athletes’ training sessions before the Olympics, which start Friday.

The Koreas were welcomed into athletes’ village earlier Wednesday. North Korean officials refused to answer any inquiries from South Korean journalists.

Athletes from the two Koreas marched in under one flag at opening ceremonies for the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, and even ate and trained together. But inter-Korean relations have deteriorated since, and there have been no talks of sports exchange at the Olympic level since before the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Original Article 

In the News – ‘N. Korean attacks won’t be tolerated’

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In the News – ‘N. Korean attacks won’t be tolerated’


President Lee Myung-bak, left, walks somberly away after placing a wreath to honor Colombian troops killed in the 1950-53 Korean War at a memorial in Bogota, Columbia, Sunday, a day before the 62nd anniversary of the outbreak of the conflict. He is flanked by Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon. / Yonhap


Lee marks 62nd anniversary of outbreak of Korean War

By Kim Young-jin

President Lee Myung-bak said that no future North Korean provocations would be tolerated on the eve of the 62nd anniversary of the communist state invasion that triggered the 1950-1953 Korean War.

Meeting Colombian veterans who participated in the fratricidal war during his visit to Bogota, Sunday (Korean time), President Lee said, “It is with our own power that we defend our nation and we won’t let the North get away with any provocations.”

Lee’s visit was the first by a South Korean leader to the nation in 50 years since their establishment of diplomatic ties. Colombia came to the aid as a member of a 16-nation coalition in the Korean conflict.

He noted that the two Koreas are still technically at war, pointing out, “No lasting peace achieved after the war is over. We have spent 60-plus years in a state in which war is put on hold.”

“What we want is to quickly achieve peace on the peninsula and unification through cooperative steps,” the President said.

He thanked the veterans for their contribution to the nation.

“The Republic of Korea of today exists because you fought for and staked your lives to defend the far-flung nation in the East without evening knowing its name,” he said.

Despite the decades that have passed since the war broke out, military tensions remain high, a fact highlighted over the weekend by U.S.-South naval drills meant as a show of force against the Stalinist regime that waged two deadly attacks in 2010.

Lee, on the last stage of a four-nation Latin America swing, earlier paid tribute to Colombian troops killed in the 62-year-old war, laying a wreath at a Korean War memorial in Bogota.

Lee was to meet with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for deepening cooperation in areas such as trade and investment as well as infrastructure development.

He said that thanks to the allies’ help, Korea has become a “donor’ country that makes contributions to poor countries in a major turnaround from a country that lived on international handouts. “We, Koreans and Colombians are blood-sealed brothers,” Lee declared.

Korea and U.S have been staging massive naval drills in the West Sea, which can be taken as a show of force not just against Pyongyang but also its ally, China.

The two allies, plus a contingent from Japan, have been conducting an exercise aimed at increasing deterrence capabilities since the sinking of ROK warship Cheonan and shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in 2010. The North is to blame for both provocations that led to the tensest moments since the 1953 truce.

The exercise comes as the North maintains its hard line under the leadership of new leader Kim Jong-un, the son of the late ruler Kim Jong-il.

A total of 8,000 personnel were involved, manning 10 South Korean warships and the nuclear-powered USS George Washington aircraft carrier and hundreds of aircraft, according to the Ministry of Defense.

The war games followed the allies’ largest-ever single-day live-fire exercises, Friday, near the border with the North that featured 2,000 troops as well as jet fighters, attack helicopters and various rocket launchers.

Tensions linger following Pyongyang failed rocket launch in April, which was deemed a test of ballistic missile technology and scuttled efforts at engagement.

 

Original article can be found here.