A spokesman for the Olympic Committee of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) issued the following press statement on July 16:
The sports world of Japan has gone to extremes in its shameless act designed to seize Tok Island, part of the inviolable territory of Korea, even in defiance of the sacred idea and spirit of the Olympic movement.
The Tokyo Olympic Games Organizing Committee, on an Olympic torch relay map posted on the official website of the 32nd Olympics, marked Tok Island, the territory of the DPRK as “Japanese territory”. As censure and protests came snowing in, it has launched into a long harangue of excuses saying that “it is purely a geographical representation” and “no political statement was intended in its creation”.
It is irrefutable that Tok Island is part of the territory of Korea in view of international law and from historical and geographical points of view.
Political issues are inseparable from territorial issues, and it is shameless and groundless sophism to insist that it is just a geographical concept that part of Korea is marked as part of Japan.
The act of abusing the Olympic Games, which is supposed to promote friendship and harmony, for realizing territorial ambition is a mockery of the desires of world sportspersons and mankind for peace. This is also an intolerable provocation violating the sovereignty of the Korean nation.
There would be no other country and sports committee on earth except Japan and the Tokyo Olympic Games Organizing Committee which, by taking the advantage of hosting the Olympics, go so shameless as to mark the territory of other country as their land on the Olympic torch relay map and maintain that it is simply a geographical representation and no political statement was intended in the creation of the map.
Lurking behind the sordid act committed by the Tokyo Olympic Games Organizing Committee by taking the advantage of hosting the Olympics is Japan’s insidious scheme to create a precedent for marking Tok Island as “Japan’s territory” in the follow-up international sports games and to establish Japan’s dominium over Tok Island in the world.
The International Olympic Committee’s response to the wrong assertion made by the Tokyo Olympic Games Organizing Committee is also problematic.
The IOC categorically opposed marking Tok Island on the Korean peninsula flag for the 23rd Winter Olympic Games in Phyongchang, south Korea, in February 2018, stating it is a political issue to mark Tok Island on the Korean peninsula flag to be used by the single north-south team and political neutrality must be maintained in sports and Olympics.
In July 2019, the IOC, in a letter sent to the chairman of the DPRK Olympic Committee, wrote that it had reminded the Tokyo Olympic Games Organizing Committee of its strong stand on political neutrality regarding the description of Tok Island as “Japan’s territory” on the Olympic torch relay map by the Tokyo Olympic Games Organizing Committee.
But with an abrupt change in its stand on July 2, the IOC forwarded letters to its members, honorary members and honor members which had mentioned that the issue of Tok Island is the one related to the Olympic Games Organizing Committee and therefore, when the issue is tabled, they should take note of the assertion of the Tokyo Olympic Games Organizing Committee.
The DPRK Olympic Committee condemns strongly the sinister behavior of the Tokyo Olympic Games Organizing Committee of insulting the sacred charter and idea of the Olympics and justifying its territorial claim by abusing the opportunity of hosting the games. It is also compelled to call to account the International Olympic Committee for its double-dealing behavior of tacit approval.
The 32nd Olympic Games Organizing Committee, though belatedly, must correct the Olympic torch relay map where the Tok island is marked as Japan’s territory. The International Olympic Committee would be well-advised to behave with impartiality as befitting the international organization leading the Olympic movement worldwide.