South Koreans divided over use of single flag during two Koreas' Olympic march: Poll

The agreement between South and North Korea to march under a unity flag and field a joint ice hockey team at next month's Olympics debuts to sharp criticism by many in the South.
South Korean fans waving "unification flags" as they cheer for North Korean players during an IIHF women's world ice hockey championships match between South Korea and North Korea in Gangneung on April 6, 2017.
South Korean fans waving "unification flags" as they cheer for North Korean players during an IIHF women's world ice hockey championships match between South Korea and North Korea in Gangneung on April 6, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL - Only four out of 10 South Koreans are in favour of using a unified flag when South and North Korean athletes march together at the opening and closing ceremonies of the upcoming Winter Olympics, a survey showed on Thursday (Jan 18), Yonhap news agency reported.

At working-level talks on Wednesday, the two Koreas have agreed to march together under the neutral flag and to launch a joint women's ice hockey team for the Olympics, which will kick off in the South Korean alpine town of PyeongChang on Feb 9.

According to Yonhap, the poll, conducted by Realmeter, said 40.5 per cent of the 500 respondents across the nation approved of the use of the unified flag, which shows the Korean Peninsula, during the joint march.

On the other hand, 49.4 per cent of respondents say it is "desirable" for athletes from both countries to jointly enter the ceremonies, but displaying their respective national flags.

By political inclination, 68.5 per cent of the polled conservatives opposed the neutral flag, while 56.1 per cent of the progressives agreed with using it, Yonhap reported, citing poll results.

By age, respondents in their 60s and older were most in favour of using each country's national flag, with 62.2 per cent, trailed by those in their 30s (50.7 per cent), those in their 50s (48.3 per cent) and those in their 20s (44 per cent).

But 52.1 per cent of respondents in their 40s approved of the unified flag, Yonhap added.