Rarity in North Korea: South's Anthem Is Played

Weightlifter from South Korea wins gold at Pyongyang competition

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Sep 14, 2013 8:55 AM CDT

(Newser) – A South Korean weightlifter heard his national anthem played today after winning gold in an international competition in North Korea, an unusual development between the bitter rivals and a vivid sign of the Koreas' easing tensions after a spring of war threats. Two South Koreans were the only competitors in their particular weight category and automatically won gold and silver. The crowd in Ryugyong Jong Ju Yong Indoor Stadium stood as the South Korean national anthem played and two South Korean flags were raised.

It's the first time South Korean athletes have attended an international sports event in North Korea, government officials in Seoul said. North and South Korea are pursuing diplomacy after a March and April that saw Pyongyang threatening Seoul and Washington with nuclear strikes. In recent weeks, the Koreas have restored a military hotline at the border, agreed to restart a jointly run factory park shut down in April, and will have reunions this month of families separated by the war.

North Korean fans cheer as weightlifters compete during the 2013 Asian Cup and Interclub Weightlifting Championships in Pyongyang.
North Korean fans cheer as weightlifters compete during the 2013 Asian Cup and Interclub Weightlifting Championships in Pyongyang.   (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)
In this image taken from video, a South Korean athlete carries the country's national flag at the opening ceremony for the 2013 Asian Cup and Interclub Weightlifting Championship in Pyongyang.
In this image taken from video, a South Korean athlete carries the country's national flag at the opening ceremony for the 2013 Asian Cup and Interclub Weightlifting Championship in Pyongyang.   (AP Photo/AP Video)
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