North Korea flag blunder: When the roles were reversed in 1993
IN the wake of last night’s deeply embarrasing flag blunder at Hampden Park, questions have been raised about how organisers could confuse two such distinctive flags.
Diplomatic relations between North and South Korea have rarely been cosy, and yesterday’s episode served to further confirm the fact. However, surprisingly enough, this is not the first time that such a gaffe has occurred in Scotland, as this archive report in a 1993 edition of The Scotsman illustrates...
Apology for South Korea over flag mistake, 14 April, 1993
By Gary Duncan
THE ORGANISERS of the Rugby World Cup Sevens are to offer a personal apology to the President of South Korea after a highly-embarrassing gaffe in which the flag of his nation’s bitter enemies, North Korea, appeared on tournament publicity material. The South Korean side in the contest were incensed when they arrived in Edinburgh this week to find the North Korean emblem emblazoned on T-shirts, posters and other literature. However, the row over the blunder appeared to be over yesterday, after talks between the South Koreans.
The apology to the South Korean president, Kim Young-Sam, will be made when he arrives in Scotland tomorrow to attend the contest. In the meantime, a Rugby World Cup director has expressed sincere and profound regret for the error to the manager and coach of the South Korean team and the offending items are to be withdrawn. Bruce Skirrow, the cup’s tournaments co-ordinator, said letters of apology were also being sent to the South Korean embassy, which had registered a strong protest after hearing about the confusion over the flags.
The embassy’s press attache, Hebeom Kim, said that reports that the South Korean team might withdraw from the contest had been exaggerated. The embassy now accepted that what he called a clerical mistake had been made and that efforts were being made to rectify it. The Rugby World Cup said in a statement that it now wished to “make clear that the participating nation is South Korea” and that all offending material is being withdrawn. The design of the promotional material had been completed before the final participants in the tournament were known. “The intention of the promotional flag design was to indicate the truly international nature of the tournament,” it says. “It was never the intention to depict national flags from all the participating unions.
“Indeed, in the interests of promoting the international nature of the tournament some flags of nations which will not be participating were included. An unfortunate by-product of this was the inclusion of the North Korean flag. ‘’Rugby World Cup deeply regrets any distress or embarrassment.”
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