South Korea come before North Korea in Olympic opener

Society Materials 8 August 2008 10:30 (UTC +04:00)

South Korea will be first and North Korea will come shortly afterwards in the parade of the nations at the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday after both sides failed to reach an agreement over a joint appearance, dpa reported.

"South Korea will come before North Korea, there will be two or three NOCs (National Olympic Committees) in-between," said Wang Wei, secretary general of the organizing committee BOCOG.

Wang named pure purely technical reasons as the parade of nations order is determined by the number of strokes in the Mandarin alphabet character.

The two Koreas had a joint appearance at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 opening ceremonies, but failed to reach an agreement again this time around.

"We tried for Beijing, but unfortunately it is not possible," said IOC boss Jacques Rogge on Thursday.

Rogge said that the Olympic Committees from both countries had agreed on another joint march, but that "the political powers disagreed.

"I sent two letters to the presidents but it was to no avail," he said. "This is a setback for peace and harmony."