Organizers of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang will replace soldiers with civilian volunteers on flag-hoisting duty when the North Korean team arrives in the athletes' village.

The organizing committee on Wednesday said that they will replace soldiers with civilian volunteers to hoist the North Korean flag during the welcoming ceremony for the North Korean athletes on Feb. 8.

Welcoming ceremonies for athletes from all participating countries are taken care of by military honor guards, with two soldiers hoisting each country's flag and 17 performing in a band.

Flags of countries participating in the Winter Olympics fly at the athletes' village in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province on Wednesday. /Yonhap

But for the North Korean athletes, volunteers will take on the flag-hoisting duty.

South Korean soldiers are prevented by law from showing respect to the flag of North Korea, which is officially an enemy nation since the Korean War ended not in a peace agreement but a ceasefire.

The Defense Ministry therefore informed the organizers that having soldiers hoist it would be "inappropriate." 

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