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Pyongyang changes attitude toward Seoul

Posted September. 16, 2013 06:35,   


For the first time since the division of South and North, South Korea’s national flag was hoisted while its national anthem was played in Pyongyang. North Korea conducted a celebration event Saturday according to international rules for two South Korean athletes who won the first and second places in the 2013 Asian Cup and Club Weightlifting Championships held at the Ryukyong Chung Ju-yung Gymnasium in Pyongyang.

North Korean spectators stood up to display courtesy while the South Korean national anthem was played. North Korean Central TV aired the scene the next day for about seven seconds. North Korea’s South Korean policy might be changing toward more reasonable direction.

North Korea had reacted sensitively about South Korean flag or anthem. A case in point is a third round of the 2010 South Africa World Cup Asian qualifier of South Korea vs. North Korea. The qualifier, which was to be held in Pyongyang in 2008, had to be held in Shanghai because North Korea would not allow South Korean anthem to be played in Pyongyang when tens of thousands of North Koreans are watching live on TV.

Even in terms of reciprocity, North Korea’s denial of South Korean national flag and anthem seemed narrow-minded. South Korea has allowed North Korean flag and anthem for North Korean athletes participating in sporting events in the South. North Korean athletes have received warm welcome by South Koreans in various sporting events in the South, including the 2002 Busan Asian Games.

The October 4 South-North Joint Declaration, which had been highly esteemed by Pyongyang, sets forth mutual respect between South and North Koreas. If the introduction of the South Korean anthem and flag means changes in attitude of Pyongyang, it must be a significant event. The trust process on the Korean Peninsula that has been pushed forward by President Park Geun-hye also emphasizes building trust from simple matters while upholding principles in a way to better relations between the two Koreas.