UK & World News
Olympics: Anger Over North Korean Flag Blunder
London 2012 officials will try to establish if the flag mix-up before North Korea women's opening football match against Colombia was deliberate - as suggested by their coach.
They have apologised for the gaffe, which saw the South Korean flag being shown on the big screen at Hampden Park stadium as the players were warming up.
The North Koreans walked off in protest and the scheduled 7.45pm kick-off was delayed for more than an hour while officials tried to sort the matter out.
North Korea were eventually persuaded to return to the pitch when the sides were announced again and the correct flag displayed. They went on to win 2-0.
Coach Gun Sin Ui stressed the gravity of the incident and also revealed he planned to take up the matter with Games organisers Locog and Fifa, football's world governing body.
Ui said: "Our players were announced with their photos and names alongside the South Korean national flag. The national flag difference is a big problem.
"Our team was not going to participate unless the problem was solved properly. Unfortunately it took some time later for the broadcast to be done again properly and we made the decision to go on with the match."
Asked whether he believed the wrong flag had deliberately been used, Ui said: "That was the question I was going to ask Locog and Fifa.
"We were angry because our players were shown as if they were from South Korea which affects us very greatly.
"If this matter had not been solved, continuing would have been a nonsense."
Despite his concerns there was no mention of the incident in a brief report on the match on the Korean Central News Agency's website.
A statement from the Games organisers said: "Clearly this is a mistake. We will apologise to the team and the National Olympic Committee, and steps will be taken to ensure this does not happen again."
Prime Minister David Cameron commented: "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.
"We shouldn't over-inflate this episode. It was unfortunate, it shouldn't have happened and I think we can leave it at that."
South Korea and North Korea exist as neighbours, but have a far from harmonious relationship. The countries were formally established as separate entities in 1948, when US forces occupied the south and Soviet forces occupied the north.
The north established itself as a communist state, tensions escalated and the Korean War began in 1950.
The US was among those countries to fight against North Korea. Some 100,000 British troops saw action and the conflict is often called Britain's "forgotten war".
Only two years ago, North Korean artillery shells killed four people, two from the military and two civilians, on Yeonpyeong Island in South Korea.
Technically, the two countries are still at war. Pyongyang has yet to officially respond to the flag gaffe.
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what do you think?
You gotta laugh lol
Well done thanks for wasting our tax money and embarrassing the whole country. By insulting the visitors.
I don't even know why North Korea's team are allowed to compete. They've been banned from the next women's world cup for failing doping tests, so they should also be banned from this.
first event. you would think they would have made an effort to get it right... ffs, as they say...
some are suggesting that it wasa deliberate prank.it does seem a coincidence that it was THAT flag. probably be a public inquiry.
Why should they care, they have got a FREE flight to England and whilst here are getting free board and lodgings courtesy of the English Taxpayers.
Don`t forget the free flight back.
Wait untill they show the British flag instead of the Scottish then there`ll be some mayhem.
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I suppose some overpaid jobsworth is in charge of this mess.SACK THE PERSON for making this country look stupid.
Phylip de la Maziere
Olympic games or blunder games? no security, wrong flag, ticket fiasco roll on the opening event! bet we end up the laughing stock of the world (AGAIN)!
if this happend to the gb team and say they put the pakistan flag up instead of union jack there would not behalf the fuss as it would be deemed racist. this countrys a joke
if the argentinian or german flag had been displayed against british athletes names i would be offended.
cant say im surprised.the countrys doomed.
Why should they care ? If it was the British team I'm sure the press would raise hell. These people are here to proudly represent their countries, belittling them and labling them as drug cheats with no evidence is shameful. I guess the Olympic ideals are lost on many people
Don't know why the opening ceremony is being dissed when it hasn't been seen yet. At least we won't do what they did in Beijing and put CGI footprints to make it look like fireworks. Give us a chance and stop being so negative.
What sort of chace should we give them Janet? Shall we give all these incompetent persons large bonuses?
Think the person who messed this up needs to get a new Korea...
Yes indeed, sheer incompetence, ignorance and stupidity has been demonstrated with this one. Surely the organisers would know there are real tensions between North and South Korea. There are sensitivities here and these have clearly not been understood, or indeed have been given no consideration. Thank you Olympic organisers for embarrassing us all with this shoddy treatment of our guests. Can we respectfully request that you brush up on the geography and get it right next time.
We couldn't send 100,000 troops now...
First the security shambles, then the chaos caused by Olympic road lanes, 9 athletes caught on drugs even before the start and now this .Then there is the 24/7 coverage on all BBC channels. How I wish it was already September.
September 1976? Don't wish ur life away m8.
Yes, roll on September.
If this latest situation were not so serious, it would be funny...... My word, what a dreadful mistake!!!! But then I think..... if many people in the UK can fly the Union Jack upside down what hope do these incompetent people running this shambles have. What a fiasco. What on earth must the rest of the world be saying
I am sure it was a genuine mistake resulting from incompetence, ignorance and insensitivity. Flags are important to every country, some more so than others. As Louise says, far too often we see our own Union Flag (it is only the Union Jack when worn on a ship's jackstaff) flown upside down. We also see people being 'patriotic' and flying the Union Jack on their yacht, when it is reserved for ships owned by the Crown and they should be flying a White Jack, which is the Union Jack with a white border.