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‘Steamer must be available to iron national flag,’ says Foreign Ministry

‘Steamer must be available to iron national flag,’ says Foreign Ministry

Posted June. 06, 2019 07:36,   

Updated June. 06, 2019 07:36


The South Korean Foreign Ministry has come up with new guidelines that require a clothes steamer to be available at all event venues to iron a South Korean flag after an embarrassing incident involving a wrinkled national flag. Under the new guidelines, an event must be carried out without a national flag altogether if a damaged flag cannot be replaced. This is a desperate attempt to prevent any potential mistakes in light of the upcoming G20 summit and U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to the country at the end of June.

It was reported on Wednesday that the Foreign Ministry released the South Korean flag handling guidelines for diplomatic events to its employees on May 24, 50 days after the incident which displayed a wrinkled national flag at the vice-ministerial meeting between South Korea and Spain on April 4.

According to the new guidelines, the conditions of a national flag must be checked at least one hour before an event and a spare flag must be available at all times. Removing a damaged national flag from an event venue must also be considered, rather than using it as it is.

One of the new rules is to have a clothes steamer available to iron out creases in a national flag, if necessary. “This is a set of new guidelines to train employees with regards to the handling of a national flag so that they can quickly figure out what to do in unexpected situations,” said a ministry official.

In addition, a sense of newly heightened tension can be felt among the officials in charge of diplomatic events with the G20 summit to be held in Osaka, Japan on June 28 and 29. “The Korean officials in charge of the summit asked for extra attention for President Moon Jae-in to find a good spot during a group photoshoot despite a language barrier that he might experience,” said a diplomatic source. This request appears to have been made in consideration of the two incidents where the South Korean president missed a group photoshoot at the Asia–Europe Meeting in October 2018 and was pictured in the outer edge at the G20 summit in 2017.

Gi-Jae Han record@donga.com