PYONGYANG, Feb. 17 — The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Thursday criticized the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for not putting the Tok Islets on the Korean Peninsula flag used at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
The Tok Islets’ sovereignty is disputed between Pyongyang and Seoul on the one side and Tokyo on the other side. The two teams of the DPRK and South Korea held the Korean Peninsula flag when entering the stadium at the opening ceremony of the winter games on Feb. 9. The DPRK official daily Rodong Sinmun said in a commentary that the DPRK had demanded that the IOC mark the islets on the Korean Peninsula flag, but the IOC “made a wrong decision to use the flag without the islets for the reason that ‘it is unsuitable to connect the political matter to sports.’ “The IOC turned down our principled request, talking about ‘political matter.’ It is an unreasonable act of abetting the ambition of the Japanese reactionaries to grab the Tok Islets and making the issue of the islets an international and political one,” said the official daily of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.
The daily also blamed Tokyo for manipulating the IOC into opposing the inclusion of the islets on the flag, saying “such unreasonable decision eloquently shows that the Japanese reactionaries are behind it.” The commentary urged South Korea to “draw a serious lesson from the recent incident.”
“The issue of the Korean Peninsula flag is not a mere marking of the islets but it is an important matter to preserve the claim to the territory. They should show the will to defend the islets in practice in the face of outsider’s interference and pressure rather than claiming that the islets belong to the territory of Korea,” it said. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was among the foreign guests at the opening ceremony. – XINHUA