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 

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 – S.Korea to talk Olympic TV broadcast with North

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In the News – S.Korea to talk Olympic TV broadcast with North

SEOUL — A South Korean official will visit North Korea this week to discuss the possible broadcast of the London Olympics there, Seoul’s unification ministry said on Monday.

Kim In-Kyu, president of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), will visit Pyongyang from Tuesday to Thursday for talks with the North’s radio and television broadcasting committee, said an official .

The ministry, which handles cross-border affairs, authorised Kim’s visit after Pyongyang invited him to discuss such broadcasts, said spokeswoman Park Soo-Jin.

Kim, who also runs the South’s state Korea Broadcasting System (KBS), will be the first South Korean civilian to pay an authorised visit to the communist state since the funeral of leader Kim Jong-Il in December.

KBS said in a statement that ABU plans to provide broadcasting rights for the Games to about 40 organisations in 30 countries, including the North.

In 2010 the impoverished North was able to air the football World Cup finals with the help of ABU and football’s international governing body FIFA.

North Korea has announced it will send 51 athletes to London to compete in 11 events including women’s football, weightlifting, table-tennis and wrestling.

South Korea’s private SBS station retains the right to air the Games for the entire Korean peninsula including North Korea until the Summer Olympics of 2024.

The company said it would broadcast the games in the South along with two public broadcasters KBS and MBC, and has mandated ABU to handle the rights in North Korea.

Original Article

 

In the News – N.Korea Striker Jong Tae-se to Tie Knot This Year

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In the News – N.Korea Striker Jong Tae-se to Tie Knot This Year

Striker Jong Tae-se (28) has seen his fortunes dip and dive for FC Köln, which got relegated from Germany’s leading Bundesliga at the end of last season, but off the pitch the ethnic Korean is enjoying life and will realize another key ambition by tying the knot later this year.

Jong, a third-generation Korean Japanese who has a South Korean passport but who plays for North Korea, has long expressed his desire to find a soul mate. He talked about his wedding plans for the first time on Wednesday in Bangkok, where he participated in the 2nd Asian Dream Cup, a charity football event hosted by Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung’s JS Foundation.

“She is Korean Japanese, like me, and we’ve been together for five years. She works at a company and is one year older than me,” he said, apparently reluctant to divulge too much information about his bride-to-be.

Jong Tae-se poses for a photo ahead of a luncheon organized on the sidelines of the second Asian Dream Cup at a hotel in Bangkok on Wednesday.

The couple got together after being set up by one of Jong’s university friends when he was playing for Japan’s Kawasaki Frontale. Since Jong moved to Bochum, Germany, in 2010, they have maintained a long-distance relationship.

In January, Jong moved up from Germany’s second-tier league to join Koln, but played in just five games and mostly served as a benchwarmer. Adding to his misfortune, the team got relegated. Jong expressed his disappointment and said he was not hopeful of finding another team to transfer to in the Bundesliga at this point in his career. Rather, he said, he will focus on trying to get as much playing time as possible in the lower league.

He also seemed open to the idea of playing in South Korea’s domestic league.  “If I receive a good offer, I will definitely consider it,” he said. “In the past, I heard rumors that a number of K League teams were interested in me, but I wasn’t prepared to make the move at that time.”

He named playing in the UEFA Champions’ League as one of his unfulfilled ambitions. “I wanted to become the first North Korean to play in the Champions’ League, but Park Kwang-ryong of Basel beat me to the punch. I will have to wait until I hear from him to find out how he found the experience, but I would still love to play on such a grand stage.”

 

Original article can be found here.

An Inside Look at North Korea

North Korea is the most reclusive country in the world today. The government goes through painstaking measures to make sure that nobody knows what exactly is going on behind its doors. What’s worse is that they go through even more painstaking measures to make sure nobody inside knows what’s going on outside its borders. But every once in a while, you’re presented with an opportunity to step behind the curtains and see North Korea through the eyes of a North Korean. Actually, scratch that. The North Korean government would never allow that. But in the least, we’re sometimes able to see North Korea through the camera lens of a foreigner, whether it be tourists or news agencies. What we see through such pictures may not be exactly what North Korea really is, but at least we get an idea.

I was reading through the Washington Post a few weeks back and came across some photos of North Korea that I thought were stunning. These photos are the work of David Guttenfelder, the chief photographer for the Associated Press Asia, and I’d like to share them with you.

This is the Pyongyang Airport. I guess this would be the first thing you see of North Korea if you enter by plane. I read an article about Air Koryo, North Korea’s official airline, and it was ranked as the worst airline in the world. It is the only airline in the world that has been rated with 1 star, with the reason being a lack of safety. Continue reading

North Korea and Football (soccer)

There is no sport that shakes this planet as hard as football does, according to numerous psychologists, neurobiologists, and economists. If you have read a chapter from Soccernomics by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski, you would know the magnitude of the industry, the impact it has on people’s lives, and how it can improve a country’s image. Despite its isolated nature, North Korea has made its athletes visible at sporting events. Some of them have won medals at the Olympics and successfully played several World Cup games, the last one in 2010. Continue reading

Master Key

It’s so nice to see these kids having a good time. Knowing that they’re just normal kids.

We’re at Hangyeorae Boarding School, the place where North Korean teenage defectors go to catch up with the crazy South Korean education system.

I watched the high school boys play soccer one night in the rain. We were supposed to go take a tour of the community garden, but when 7:00 came some boys were rounding up their friends and trying to track down cleats and a ball and we knew that the garden thing couldn’t compete. So instead a few friends and I walked up the hill to watch them play. A typical high school boys’ impromptu soccer game of Shirts vs. Skins.

One of the first things you notice is the far team’s goalie, a boy known to us as Master Key—if there is a better nickname I am not aware. Continue reading