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ROK-DPRK talks begin on Asian Games

By Xinhua in Seoul | China Daily | Updated: 2014-08-27 06:59

The Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea began discussions, through exchanges of letters, on Tuesday on Pyongyang's participation in the ROK-hosted Asian Games next month.

The letter in the name of the Incheon Asian Games organizing committee was sent to its DPRK counterpart through the liaison office at the truce village of Panmunjom, a Unification Ministry official was quoted by local media as saying.

The DPRK sent a letter on Aug 22 outlining its plan to send a 273-member team, including 150 athletes, to the 2014 Asian Games to be held in the ROK western port city of Incheon from Sept 19 to Oct 4.

Through the letter exchange, the two countries will discuss issues related to the visit, including whether the DPRK sports team will travel to the ROK via sea or air routes, and how much Seoul will pay for DPRK athletes to stay in the ROK.

Seoul reportedly agreed to the DPRK's proposal to use the western sea route for a flight carrying athletes. Regarding the stay costs, Seoul was willing to pay part of the expense necessary for DPRK athletes staying in Incheon.

The letter from Seoul did not cover issues such as the DPRK's cheering squad, which Pyongyang did not mention in its previous letter.

The consultations through letter exchange came after the ROK and the United States launched a joint military exercise as planned despite the DPRK's strong opposition. The drill, named Ulchi Freedom Guardian, was launched on Aug 18 and will continue through Aug 29.

The two neighbors held working-level talks last month to discuss the DPRK's participation, but no agreement was reached ahead of the military drill.

The ROK military has claimed the drill is an annual event of a defensive nature, but the DPRK denounced it as a rehearsal for a northward invasion.

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