Winter Olympics 2018: South Korea to stop using unification flag depicting disputed islands after Japan's protest

Seoul: South Korea will stop using a flag which shows disputed islands during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, its foreign ministry said Tuesday after rival claimant Japan reacted angrily.

The two Koreas have agreed to march together at Friday's opening ceremony under the unification flag – a pale blue silhouette of the peninsula – which will also be used by their combined women's ice hockey team.

Volunteers pose for a photo next next to the Olympics rings ahead of the Winter Olympics 2018 in Pyeongchang. AFP

Volunteers pose for a photo next next to the Olympics rings ahead of the Winter Olympics 2018 in Pyeongchang. AFP

The flags used at the joint team's practice match against Sweden on Sunday showed a blue dot indicating islands in the Sea of Japan controlled by South Korea, which refers to them as Dokdo.

But they are also claimed by Japan, which calls them 'Takeshima', and Tokyo reacted furiously, lodging a diplomatic protest. Its chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga called the flag "unacceptable".

South Korea and Japan are both US allies and both threatened by nuclear-armed North Korea, but their relationship is heavily coloured by historical issues - Tokyo brutally colonised the peninsula from 1910-45, and used hundreds of thousands of Korean women as sex slaves during the Second World War.

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe is due to attend the Winter Olympics opening ceremony on Friday and Seoul backed down over the flags on Tuesday.

"Our basic stance is to respect the IOC's decision concerning the use of the Korean peninsula flag... in particular, for IOC-run events," foreign ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk told journalists.

Sunday's match was organised by the Korea Ice Hockey Association, separately from the Olympics, he added.


Updated Date: Feb 06, 2018 17:23 PM

Also Watch

It's A Wrap: Omerta star Rajkummar Rao in conversation with Parul Sharma
  • Thursday, April 26, 2018 In the Kanjarbhat community, a campaign against 'virginity tests' is slowly gaining ground
  • Thursday, April 19, 2018 Watch: National-level skater and coach Dhwanit Rele trains and nurtures budding athletes
  • Monday, May 14, 2018 FOMO Episode 1: Google Assistant, This is America, Sonam's wedding & Global Warming
  • Saturday, May 19, 2018 Social Media Star: Rajkummar Rao and Bhuvan Bam open up about selfie culture, online trolls

Also See