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Two Koreas squabble over anthem

February 12, 2008 12:30 IST

North and South Korea are at loggerheads over which national anthems and flags will be used when the two countries meet in a football World Cup qualifier next month, an official said on Tuesday.

"North Korea wants us to use a joint Korean flag and anthem ... instead of allowing us to use our own," said You Young-cheul, spokesman for South Korea's soccer federation.

According to FIFA rules, the flags and national anthems of both participating countries must be used in international matches, You added.

The two Koreas, still technically at war, each state in their respective constitutions that their government is the legitimate ruler over the other half of the peninsula.

The 1950-1953 Korean War was settled by a ceasefire rather than a peace treaty.

Despite competing as separate teams, the two countries have marched together at Olympic Games and other sporting events, carrying a joint flag that shows the entire peninsula in blue against a white background.

A folk song popular in both countries has been used as their anthem.

The two Koreas will try to resolve the issue themselves but may have to turn to FIFA for help, You said.

North and South Korea, who have been drawn in Group three with Jordan and Turkmenistan, will play their match on March 26 in Pyongyang.

South Korea easily won their opening qualifier against Turkmenistan 4-0 and North Korea beat Jordan 1-0.

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