South Korea says it has removed banners referring to the 16th-century war between Korea and Japan after the International Olympic Committee ruled it was provocative.
The South Korean Olympic Committee said on Saturday that it removed banners from the Tokyo Olympic athletes’ village that referred to a 16th-century war between Korea and Japan after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ruled it was provocative.
In agreeing to remove the banners, South Koreans said they received a promise from the IOC that the display of the Japanese flag of the “rising sun” would be banned in stadiums and other Olympic venues. The flag, which depicts a red sun with 16 rays extending outwards, is resented by many people in South Korea and other parts of Asia who see it as a symbol of Japan’s war past.
The South Korean banners, which attracted protests from some Japanese far-right groups, had been hung on the balconies of South Korean athletes’ rooms and collectively wrote a message that read, ” I still have the support of 50 million Koreans. “
This was borrowed from the famous words of 16th-century Korean naval admiral Yi Sun-sin, who according to historical history told King Seonjo of the Korean kingdom, Joseon, “I still have 12 battleships left,” before to achieve a crucial victory against a larger Japanese fleet during the Japanese invasions of Korea in 1592-1598.
The South Korean Olympic Committee said the IOC said the banners invoked images of war and went against Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter, which says “no demonstration or political, religious propaganda is allowed. or racial in any place, Olympic place or other areas ”.
The committee said it agreed to remove the banners after the IOC pledged to apply the same rules to outgoing solar flags and ban them at all Olympic venues.
“Under the agreement, the committee will not raise any further debate to allow athletes to focus fully on competition, while the IOC will ban the display of the rising sun flag at all Olympic venues so that no political problems arise,” he said. said the South Korean said the committee in a statement.
South Korea had formally asked the IOC to ban the rising sun flag at the 2019 Olympics, comparing it to the Nazi swastika. South Korean Olympic officials said then that the Tokyo organizing committee rejected its demands to ban the flag, saying it was widely used in Japan and was not considered a political statement.
Many South Koreans still maintain animosity about Japanese colonial rule on the Korean Peninsula from 1910-1945, and countries have seen their relations sink to new post-war lows in recent years with disputes over history, trade. and military cooperation.
Countries have sought to improve relations since the inauguration of US President Joe Biden, who has called for stronger three-dimensional cooperation with traditional US allies in the face of the North Korean nuclear threat and the challenges it poses. China. But progress has been slow.
South Korea’s foreign ministry on Saturday summoned Japanese Ambassador Koichi Aiboshi to protest the statements of another Japanese diplomat who, according to a local broadcaster, used obscure language to ridicule the president’s efforts. South Korea’s Moon Jae-in to improve bilateral ties while meeting with reporters. .
Countries had been discussing the possibility of Moon visiting Tokyo to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games and holding talks with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to improve relations.