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  • » 03/16/2012, 00.00

    KOREA

    Two Koreas in same team angers Pyongyang

    Joseph Yun Li-sun

    Although Park Joo-ho and Pak Kwang-ryong come from different sides in Korea's great divide, they play together in Basel. A photo showing them together angers North Korea's Communists. The latter had said that they would not allow such a thing. However, it does raise hopes among fans.

    Seoul (AsiaNews) - Switzerland's FC Basel came close to causing a diplomatic incident between the mountain nation and North Korea because a picture of the team's two Korean players, North Korean striker Pak Kwang-ryong and South Korean defender Park Joo-ho, was published showing them together, something North Korea said it would not allow.

    Michael J. Agovino, of the US sports channel ESPN, wrote a feature article on Monday titled 'Korea United FC', posting a picture of the two players sitting on the bench together during team training, an unusual sight of two Cold War foes working together for the greater glory of the sport.

    "When they joined our team, there were some orders from [North Korea]," FC Basel Basel's coach Heiko Vogel said, namely "no interviews" or "pictures" of the two together.

    Pak has a North Korean handler, a former North Korean referee, who checks on him; however, he also has an iPhone and a multilingual Facebook page that he updates on a regular basis.

    Although Park and Pak maintain a sense of distance on official occasions, they sit next to each other on the team's bus and share the same music.

    For coach Vogel, "This sport has shown often that it breaks through borders, lines. And if we can help them help the two countries come together, that would be gigantic."

     

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    See also

    18/06/2010 KOREA – SOUTH AFRICA
    Two North Korean players try to flee, perhaps punished
    Two of four players (goalie Kim Myong-won, mid-fielders Kim Kyong-il and Pak Sung-hyok and striker An Chol-hyok) not on squad list are thought to have asked for political asylum in an African country. FIFA denies, claiming an error in list transcript. Next Monday, North Korea plays Portugal; its star player, Jong Tae-se, who wept at the sound of national anthem, has never lived in North Korea.

    23/07/2013 KOREA
    Women's football: After North defeats South, players dedicate song to Kim Jong-un (in the field)
    At the East Asian Cup in Seoul, Pyongyang's team beats rivals 2 to 1. After the match, players gather in midfield to sing "praise and thanksgiving" to their country's dictator. South Korean fans still give them a round of applause after their victory.

    16/06/2010 KOREA – SOUTH AFRICA
    2010 World Cup: Pyongyang proud of its heroes, defeated but not beaten by Brazil
    State media celebrate the “fierce” performance of the North Korean team, who never lost faith. Jong Tae-se weeps when national anthem is played. South Korea challenges Argentina of Maradona and Messi tomorrow.

    11/06/2010 ASIA – SOUTH AFRICA
    2010 FIFA World Cup, many fighting words but few hopes for Asian teams
    “With Brazil, we can make it,” says North Korea’s forward; however, bookmakers give North Korea, Japan and South Korea very few chances of winning. In parallel with the FIFA World Cup, Thailand organises its own world cup for prison inmates, whilst mainland China and Cambodia crack down on World Cup betting.

    26/03/2008 NORTH KOREA
    Park Doo-ik chosen as Olympic torchbearer: he eliminated Italy from the World Cup in 1966
    The football player, who scored the winning goal against Italy in the World Cup in England, spent 10 years in a labour camp after the team lost against Portugal. He is the oldest of all those who will carry the torch to Beijing.



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