North Korean 'anger' at flag blunder

North Korea's representative at the International Olympic Committee has expressed anger and frustration at a diplomatic blunder that marred the opening day of the women's Olympic football tournament.

Eurosport

The North Korea women's football team walked off on Wednesday after the South Korea flag was mistakenly displayed before their match, delaying the kick-off by over an hour.

"Of course the people are angry," Ung Chang said.

"If your athlete got a gold medal and put the flag probably of some other country, what happens?"

The two Koreas are divided by the world's most militarised border and remain technically at war after an armistice stopped the Korean War in 1953.

Prime Minister David Cameron, meanwhile, insists every effort will be made to ensure mistakes such as Wednesday's Olympic flag mix-up never happen again.

He said the error in which the South Korean flag was wrongly shown instead of sworn enemy North Korea's at a football game was "an honest mistake" for which an apology has been issued.

"Every effort will be taken to make sure this won't happen again," Cameron said.

The North Korean women's team staged a protest ahead of their match with Colombia after the South Korean flag was wrongly shown on a big screen at Glasgow's Hampden Park stadium.

As a consequence, the players walked off the pitch and delayed the match by an hour.

"It was unfortunate and should not have happened," Cameron said

Speaking on a visit to the Olympic Park, Mr Cameron said: "This was an honest mistake, honestly made, an apology has been made and I'm sure every step will be taken to make sure these things don't happen again.

"We shouldn't over-inflate this episode. It was unfortunate, it shouldn't have happened and I think we can leave it at that."

When asked if he thought it was an accident, North Korea coach Sin Ui-gun was not so sure and said he would ask the organisers the same question.

"We were angry because our players were introduced as if they were from South Korea, which may affect us greatly as you may know," he said.

"Our team was not going to participate unless the problem was solved perfectly and fortunately some time later, the broadcasting was corrected and shown again live so we made up our mind to participate and go on with the match," he added.

"If this matter cannot be solved, we thought going on was nonsense. Winning the game cannot compensate for that thing."

LOCOG, the organising committee of the Games, issued a statement apologising for the incident and also stressed it would not be repeated.

North Korea return to Hampden on Saturday for their next group match against France.

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