Korean Unification Flag

The Korean Unification Flag is a flag designed to represent all of Korea when North and South Korea participate as one team in various sporting events.

Korean Unification
Adopted1991; 33 years ago (1991)
DesignA white background with the Korean Peninsula on it in blue
Korean Unification Flag
North Korean name
Chosŏn'gŭl통일기, 조선반도기
Hancha統一旗, 朝鮮半島旗
South Korean name
Hangul통일기, 한반도기
Hanja統一旗, 韓半島旗

History edit

North and South Korea initially planned to compete as one team at the 1990 Asian Games, and conceived the Korean Unification Flag amid logistical difficulties with raising two flags at once.[1] While the unified team effort was not realized, the flag was prominently displayed by an unofficial cheerleading group during the Games.

The flag was first officially used in 1991 when the two countries competed together as a single team in the 41st World Table Tennis Championships in Chiba, Japan.[2]

Design edit

The background colour is white. In the center is a sky blue[1] silhouette of the Korean Peninsula, including Jeju Island to the southwest. The silhouette is a somewhat smoothed representation of the actual coastline and northern border; according to both Koreas, the shape of the peninsula is "symbolic" and several smaller islands such as Geojedo are visibly omitted.[1] The agreement creating the flag explicitly excluded Maando, Marado, and Dokdo/Liancourt Rocks (the Koreas' westernmost, southernmost, and easternmost islands).[3]

Variations edit

Ulleungdo was added to the flag in 2002, and the disputed Liancourt Rocks were added in 2003.

Around September 2006, Socotra Rock was also added to the flag after an EEZ dispute flare-up with China. It is unconfirmed whether it was present at any future official or unofficial usages of the flag.[1][2]

Ulleungdo and the Liancourt Rocks were removed in an official capacity at the 2018 Winter Olympics[4][5] and other events in 2018, following alleged pressure from the IOC and Japan. The IOC has told South Korea that including the Liancourt Rocks officially would be seen as "a political act" and violate the IOC's neutrality, to which South Korea agreed.[1] Japan allegedly pressured South Korea to officially remove Ulleungdo as well, citing the "Chiba precedent" (where the flag's first official use, in Chiba, did not include it).[3] Ulleungdo was added back in 2019.

According to South Korean government policy, it allows use of the Liancourt Rocks variation during private events or by people in an unofficial capacity, including cheerleaders. For example, in the 2018 Winter Olympics, the variation was used on the women's ice hockey team's training uniforms, by the North Korean cheerleading groups during the opening ceremony, and during the team's evaluation match five days prior to the opening ceremony (which was hosted by the Korea Ice Hockey Association and not officially part of the Olympic schedule). Japan has protested these uses. Additionally, it appeared on the team's official (non-training) uniforms four days before the opening ceremony; BBC reported that it was quickly removed following media attention,[1] while Yonhap News Agency reported that it was not removed until just before opening ceremony entry.[6]

Usage edit

Sport edit

Flag at the Seoul World Cup Stadium 2005

The Korean Unification Flag has been officially used at several international events, either for a unified team, or when the two teams march together in the opening ceremony while competing separately.

Official usage in international sports
Event Location Usage Ulleungdo Liancourt Rocks Socotra Rock Ref
1991 World Table Tennis Championships Chiba, Japan Unified team       [1]
1991 FIFA World Youth Championship Lisbon, Portugal Unified team       [1]
2000 Summer Olympics Sydney, Australia Opening ceremony       [7][1][2][8]
2002 Asian Games Busan, South Korea Opening ceremony       [1]
2003 Asian Winter Games Aomori, Japan Opening ceremony       [1]
2003 Summer Universiade Daegu, South Korea Opening ceremony ? ?   [9]
2004 Summer Olympics Athens, Greece Opening ceremony       [7]
2005 East Asian Games Macau Opening ceremony       [10][11]
2006 Winter Olympics Turin, Italy Opening ceremony       [7]
2006 Asian Games Doha, Qatar Opening ceremony       [12][3]
2007 Asian Winter Games Changchun, China Opening ceremony     ? [13][14][3]
2018 Winter Olympics Pyeongchang, South Korea Unified team       [1][4][5]
2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships Halmstad, Sweden Unified team       [15]
2018 Korea Open Daejeon, South Korea Unified team       [16]
2018 Asian Games Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia Unified team       [3]
2018 Asian Para Games Jakarta, Indonesia Unified team       [17]
2019 World Men's Handball Championship Germany and Denmark Unified team       [18]

At the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing and the 2005 Asian Athletics Championships in Incheon, South Korea, unofficial cheerleading groups also prominently displayed the flag.[10]

In addition to international events, inter-Korean sporting events have used the Unification Flag.[19]

The flag was not used in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. Not only was a unified team shelved, but the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG)'s plan to make the two Korean teams enter consecutively during the opening ceremony was rejected due to opposition by the North Korean delegation at the last moment.[20]

During the 2018 Winter Paralympics, negotiations were stalled by North Korean officials requesting that the Liancourt Rocks be included on the flag.[21]

Other contexts edit

Flag at the Seoul Christmas Festival 2015

Other occasions on which the flag were used include the following:

  • In 2010, a large group of North Korean citizens and officials waved the flag when saying goodbye to South Korean Reverend Han Sang-ryol returning to South Korea from North Korea by crossing the DMZ line, but he was immediately arrested upon his return to South Korea.[22]

Symbolism edit

According to American scholar and Korea expert Brian Reynolds Myers, South and North Koreans view the flag in different contexts. South Koreans see the flag as representing a peaceful relationship and coexistence with North Korea, whereas North Koreans view its usage by South Koreans as representing a desire to have their country annexed into North Korea. In this sense, Myers says, South Korean usage of the flag is more detrimental to their country's status as to North Korea than North Koreans' usage of it in regards to South Korea.[23]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "한반도기, 화합과 평화의 상징 맞나?" [Is the Korean Peninsula flag the harmony and the symbol of peace?]. BBC. 23 January 2018. Archived from the original on 9 July 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Jo, Hailey (19 January 2018). "A history of the unified flag the two Koreas will march under at the Winter Olympics". Quartz. Archived from the original on 25 January 2018. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e "아시안게임서 독도 들어간 한반도기 사용 어려울 듯" [Asian Games will not be able to use Korean Peninsula with Dokdo]. 7 August 2018. Archived from the original on 21 August 2018. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Olympic Korean Peninsula Declaration" (PDF). International Olympic Committee. 20 January 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-02-10. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  5. ^ a b "Annex B: Korean Unification Flag" (PDF). International Olympic Committee. 20 January 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-01-20. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  6. ^ "[올림픽] IOC, 관중의 한반도기 사용은 사례에 따라 달라". Daum News.
  7. ^ a b c "Two Koreas' 'one flag' emblematic of once better ties". Reuters. January 18, 2018 – via www.reuters.com.
  8. ^ John Gittings (11 September 2000). "Two Koreas will march as one into Olympic stadium". TheGuardian.com.
  9. ^ "2015 SU Update: Both Koreas Marching Together Again after 2003 SU?". FISU.net. Archived from the original on 12 May 2021. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  10. ^ a b "[뉴스+] 기준 없어 지도·색상 '제각각'…평창 한반도기는 어떨까". 17 January 2018. Archived from the original on 2018-01-19.
  11. ^ Limited, Alamy. "North Korea and South Korea's athletes enter the field holding hands and waving an unification flag during the opening ceremony of the 4th East Asian Games in Macau October 29, 2005. The regional sporting event, which hosts nine countries and regions, will be held from October 29 through November 6. REUTERS/Paul Yeung Stock Photo – Alamy". www.alamy.com.
  12. ^ Crouch, Alex (June 22, 2015). "Korean Unification Flag".
  13. ^ "Asian Winter Games 2007 Changchun" – via www.youtube.com.
  14. ^ "【开幕式】2007长春亚冬会开幕式_哔哩哔哩_bilibili". www.bilibili.com.
  15. ^ "As one, Korea unified, the power of table tennis – International Table Tennis Federation". International Table Tennis Federation. 3 May 2018. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  16. ^ "Unified Korean mixed doubles team cruises at int'l table tennis event". Yonhap News Agency. 18 July 2018. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  17. ^ "Indonesia 2018: North and South Korea to march together". Archived from the original on 2018-09-22. Retrieved 2018-09-22.
  18. ^ "Unified Korea to play at GER/DEN 2019". IHF. 2018-10-02. Archived from the original on 2020-09-19. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  19. ^ Bairner, Alan; Kelly, John; Lee, Jung Woo, eds. (2016). Routledge Handbook of Sport and Politics. Routledge Handbooks Online. doi:10.4324/9781315761930. ISBN 9781315761930.
  20. ^ Mangan, J. A.; Hong, Fan (18 October 2013). Post-Beijing 2008: Geopolitics, Sport and the Pacific Rim. Routledge. ISBN 9781317966081. Archived from the original on 12 May 2021. Retrieved 18 January 2018 – via Google Books.
  21. ^ "'Flag dispute' halts joint Korean march". BBC News. 2018-03-08. Archived from the original on 2018-03-10. Retrieved 2018-03-10.
  22. ^ "South Korea pastor arrested on return from North visit". BBC. 20 August 2010. Archived from the original on 13 August 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  23. ^ Myers, Brian Reynolds (7 February 2018). "On the February 8 Parade and the Olympics". Sthele Press. Archived from the original on 24 January 2019. Retrieved 9 February 2018. By forbearing to march behind the yin-yang flag at the opening ceremony of the Olympics, the South Korean athletes are making a bigger sacrifice than the North Koreans... [T]he peninsula flag means two very different things to the two Koreas. In the South it symbolizes a desire for peaceful co-existence, or at most for a unification of equal partners in the reassuringly remote future. In wall posters above the DMZ it has always symbolized the southern masses' yearning for "autonomous unification," meaning absorption by the North. It's worrying to think how inner-track propaganda is certain to misrepresent the South Koreans' eschewal of their state flag for this of all symbols — and at this of all events.

External links edit