BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Chinese Vietnamese Burmese Thai Indonesian

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Asia-Pacific  
News Front Page
Middle East
South Asia
Talking Point
Country Profiles
In Depth
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
Sunday, 9 June, 2002, 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK
Tight security for US-S Korea match
South Korean SWAT team discusses strategy in Daegu stadium
South Korea has left nothing to chance
South Korean President Kim Dae-jung will not be attending his country's highly anticipated World Cup football match against the United States on Monday due to security concerns.

South Korean President Kim Dae-jung
Dae-jung: Security concerns

A spokesman for football's world governing body, Fifa, said nothing significant should be read into Mr Dae-jung's absence, as the match was being held in the city of Daegu, not the country's capital, Seoul.

"I think in the history of the World Cup it's very unusual for the president or the head of state to attend all the matches, even of his own team," Keith Cooper told the AFP news agency.

"I don't think anything should be read into that whatsoever."

Protests banned

Security will be extremely tight for the game, with authorities keen to prevent possible terror attacks against the US team.

"The government will crack down hard on any attempts to create trouble in order to ensure safety during the World Cup and to prevent incidents that could damage South Korea-US ties," government spokesman Shin Jung-sik told AFP.

US warships and planes will be monitor Daegu, while South Korean fighter jets and one F-4 Phantom fighter will patrol the skies.

Anti-aircraft missiles will be stationed on the stadium's roof and on a nearby mountain where specialist troops will be on standby.

Anti-American protests have already been banned outside the stadium. Five thousand security personnel have been posted at the match - the same number as the amount of US fans expected to watch the game.

And extra police officers have been posted around the US embassy in Seoul, which will close at midday ahead of the match.

Nationalistic fervour

The match will be crucial for both sides, who are hoping to make it into the second round of the tournament.

US football team trains as South Korean guard observers
The US squad is heavily guarded

Authorities are worried that anti-US protests may erupt, especially if the South Korean side loses.

It is estimated that as many as 700,000 people will gather to watch the match on large screens in Seoul and other major cities across the country.

Nationalistic fervour in South Korea has increased following their first victory in a World Cup match - against Poland - last Tuesday.

Many South Koreans were angered when one of their skaters at the Winter Olympics in February was stripped of his medal - which was then awarded to an American.

Nonetheless the US football team's coach, Bruce Arena, said he was confident there would be no trouble.

"If we did win I would expect the Korean fans would be disappointed, " he said.

"But I would not expect them to resort to violence."

Ronaldo won the World Cup and the Golden Boot
Gary Lineker

See also:

31 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
22 May 02 | Business
30 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
04 Jun 02 | Asia-Pacific
26 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |