2012 London Olympics North Korea walks out when wrong flag is shown
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Published on Jul 25, 2012
As North Korea's women footballers warmed up for their match against Colombia last night, the flag of bitter rival South Korea was proudly shown on the big screens around the stadium.
That prompted a walk-off by the North Koreans, who refused to play the match at the scheduled 7.45pm start time at the Hampden Park stadium in Scotland.
They were eventually persuaded to return around an hour later when the sides were announced again, with each player's face displayed next to the correct flag.
North Korea went on to win the warm-up match 2-0, but coach Gun Sin Ui stressed the gravity of the incident and said he planned to take up the matter with Games organisers Locog and FIFA.
Mr Ui said: '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, Mr Ui said: 'That was the question I was going to ask Locog and Fifa.'
Locog said: 'The South Korean flag was shown on a big screen video package instead of the North Korean flag.
'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.'
North are South Korea are neighbours but have a far from harmonious relationship.
The countries were formally established as separate entities in 1948, and the Korean War began in 1950. The animosity continues today and the two countries share the world's most heavily fortified border.
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