» 03/16/2012, 00.00
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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