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Part of Blame for U Game Clashes Be Placed On the South

Posted August. 28, 2003 18:07,   


Lee Chang-dong, the Minister of Culture and Tourism, said Wednesdy that anti-North Korean demonstrations occurring at the Daegu Universiade will be strongly dealt with in the future.

Lee said it is regrettable that some people are trying to use the event for their own political purposes. The political neutrality of the Universiade is part of the constitution of the International University Sports Federation (FISU) and “something we promised and guaranteed we would do,” Lee said during a media briefing in Seoul.

“In order to keep the spirit of the competition from being damaged, we will work together with the security forces to strongly deal with the situation,” he added.

The Culture and Tourism Minister went on to say that he asked for help from the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs to prevent a recurrence of similar incidents in the future.

The minister said, however, the president of the Universiade organizing committee, is ultimately responsible for any decisions regarding the situation, reflecting the government`s position. “I stood here today to urge the public to make efforts to prevent similar incidents from recurring and respect the spirit of sports as the head of the culture and tourism which is responsible for overseeing sporting events.”

Minister Lee touched on the recent controversy regarding the government’s apology over the incident where North Korea reporters had clashed with some South Korean right-wing demonstrators, “There is no need for us too much care about the term, an “apology” and part of the blame should be put on the local media, overly politicizing the event by focusing on these conflicts and demonstrations.”

“The media has exaggerated the North’s position in news headlines. So whether the South officials will apologize or not (becomes the next question), making it seem like a showdown between South and North Korea. This Summer Universiade is a sporting event so that political differences can be set aside during competition,” the minister said.