ROK, DPRK not to hold joint march at PyeongChang Paralympics opening ceremony amid flag dispute

Updated 2018-03-09 10:45:05

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) will not hold a joint march at the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Paralympics, Yonhap news agency reported citing ROK's Korean Paralympic Committee (KPC) on Thursday.

Previously, Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to have a joint parade at the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Winter Games at the Olympic Stadium in PyeongChang on Friday.

According to the statement released by the KPC, when discussing the details of the joint parade, the two sides failed to reach a consensus on whether they should march behind a Korean Unification Flag showing a pair of disputed islets called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese.

The ROK has repeatedly condemned Japan's territorial claims to the set of islets lying halfway between the county and Japan.

The DPRK wanted to show the disputed islets on the Korean Unification Flag, saying it will not hurt the pride of Koreans. However, ROK refused to do so as it is unwilling to politicize sports event in accordance with recommendation of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

The two sides could not narrow their differences at the end, so the IPC recommended the two countries march in separately at the opening ceremony.

Instead, the KPC has proposed to the IPC that representatives from the two sides carry the Paralympic torch together for the relay during the opening ceremony.

The DPRK dispatched a 24-member delegation, which is composed of 20 athletes and four officials from DPRK's National Paralympic Committee, to PyeongChang on Wednesday.

On Feb. 9, athletes from the two countries marched together behind the "Korean Unification" flag at the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

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