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[Editorial] At Independence Day Event, One Can’t Shout “Republic of Korea”

[Editorial] At Independence Day Event, One Can’t Shout “Republic of Korea”

Posted August. 11, 2005 03:05,   


The host for the inter-Korean unification soccer tournament, the “June 15 Joint Declaration South Korean Action Preparation Committee,” prohibited waving the Korean national flag or chanting “Daehanminkook” (Republic of Korea) during the matches to be played on August 14 and 16 in Seoul. For that reason, the Red Devils have given up cheering at the match.

The committee seems to believe that it is easy to renounce the identity of the Republic of Korea in order not to provoke the North. Otherwise, how can they treat the national title and flag, both symbols of the country, so imprudently? According to the committee, the reason for its decision is that “after the 2000 June 15 Joint Declaration, both Koreas agreed not to use their country names and flags in joint South-North Korean events,” but in this case, it is a different issue.

Various August 15 Independence Day celebration events, with this year being the 60th anniversary, including the unification soccer tournament, should be places to confirm the identity of the Republic of Korea and determine to continue and improve it. Rather, it is not even sufficient enough to celebrate our great achievements out of a liberated country torn into right and left, then divided south and north, by covering the entire country with the Korean national flag, let alone to ask not to wave the national flag and not chant our country’s name during a sports event. We should ask, what is the purpose and for whom is this Independence Day event?

It is also pathetic that at first, tickets to the soccer match were distributed freely to NGOs, and when controversy arose, they were distributed to average citizens. Was their purpose to fill up the stadium with NGOs sharing similar ideas and have their own South Korean version of national cooperation? We are in a situation where conservative and liberal organizations are planning to hold separate Independence Day events, which might lead to further confrontation. Liberal organizations are planning to invite people from abroad, who are barred from entering the country, due to anti-governmental activities.

However, Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan ordered authorities to strictly punish acts of burning the North Korean national flag during Independence Day events, giving the impression that he is giving a hand to liberal organizations. The same prime minister is silent about some NGOs and students holding demonstrations opposing the expansion of the Pyongtaek U.S. military base. How can the Korean people not view the government as a strange government when the prime minister, who should lessen the confrontation between conservatives and liberals and create an atmosphere of unity throughout Korean society with significance of the 60th Independence Day, is doing such things?