Will North lose FIFA game?Ahead of a regional qualifier for the 2010 World Cup scheduled for March 26 between South Korea and North Korea in Pyongyang, North Korea has come up with proposals that are hard to understand.
Under the regulations of the Federation Internationale de Football Association, or FIFA, flying national flags and playing national anthems of the participating nations are normal events.
The North, however, has rejected that concept and is contending that a flag depicting the Korean Peninsula be hoisted and “Arirang,” a traditional Korean folk song, be played instead.
What kind of logic is this?
If the Taegukgi, the South Korean national flag, flies and the South Korean anthem is heard in Pyongyang, does North Korea fear that keeping Pyongyang citizens under their control will become harder?
That may be the same reasoning for the North’s resistance to allowing a South Korean cheering squad into the capital city. North Korea seems to be striving to prevent the gap in national strength between the two Koreas from surfacing.
But it seems highly unlikely that the North will be able to bend FIFA rules.
South Korea raised the North’s national flag and played its national anthem at the East Asian Cup in Jeonju, North Jeolla, in 2005. The South Korean government also plans to allow broadcasting stations to air a live concert of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in Pyongyang at the end of this month. The orchestra will also be playing the North’s national anthem.
Amid this rather petty squabbling over flags and anthems, the North should take into account how international society will view its behavior if it fails to follow FIFA rules.
Whenever it can, North Korea likes to put forth the concept that the two Koreas consist of the same nation. In addition, the North has signed a basic agreement that says, “The North and South admit to and respect each other’s political structure.” How can South Korea trust the North when it is showing this response to the South Korean flag and anthem?
More than anything else, the North’s decision to allow the United States to play its anthem, while rejecting South Korea, shows its hypocracy. If the North does not change its attitude, the two Koreas will inevitably hold the match in a third country.
And that will deal North Korea an immense blow.