World / Asia-Pacific

ROK confirms DPRK's participation in Asian Games

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-05-23 19:46

SEOUL - The Republic of Korea (ROK) confirmed Friday that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) expressed its willingness to participate in the Asian Games to be held in Incheon, the western port city of ROK.

An official at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games organizing committee said over phone that the DPRK has officially notified the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) of its plan to take part in the Incheon Asian Games.

The DPRK, however, had yet to apply for its participation to the South Korean Asian Games committee, the official said, noting Pyongyang will be allowed to take part in the sports event if it submits its official entry blank as late as August 15.

The DPRK's KCNA news agency reported earlier that the DPRK Olympic Committee has decided to send its sports team to the 17th Asian Games that will be held in Incheon from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4.

The DPRK Olympic Committee is a member of the OCA, which carries a banner of peace, unity and friendship, the DPRK's official news agency said.

Whether the DPRK would send its cheering squad together with the sports team and how many athletes would come had yet to be made public as the DPRK has yet to fill in the entry form to ROK, the official said.

The DPRK sent its cheering squad to ROK in 2002 when the Asian Games were held in Busan, the nation's southwestern port city.

The DPRK became the last country to register for the Asiad among the 45 OCA members as tensions were running high on the Korean Peninsula.

The DPRK fired couples of rounds of artillery shells toward South Korean territorial waters on Thursday, and two of them fell in waters just 150 meters away from a South Korean naval ship sailing around the disputed maritime border.

Pyongyang denied its responsibility for the firing, which caused harsh criticism from ROK. President Park Geun-hye convened an unscheduled meeting of security ministers to discuss how to respond to the recent series of DPRK provocations.

The DPRK threatened a new form of nuclear test after firing around 90 short-range missiles in late February and March.

The DPRK's decision to participate in the Asian sports competition hosted by ROK reflected its intention to separate political tensions from the non-political sports event.

ROK has also maintained the two-track strategy toward the DPRK as the Park administration took a hard-line and confrontational stance to the DPRK's nuclear weapons program and vowed repeatedly to go ahead with its humanitarian aid to the Northern neighbor.

The Incheon Asian Games will be the third to be hosted by ROK following the 1986 competition in Seoul and the 2002 Asiad in Busan. The DPRK joined the games in 2002, but not the 1986 multisport event.

The two Koreas marched under a unified national flag at the opening ceremonies of the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics and also at the 2006 Winter Olympics and the 2007 Asian Winter Games. There has been no such joint march since then.

Trudeau visits Sina Weibo
May gets little gasp as EU extends deadline for sufficient progress in Brexit talks
Ethiopian FM urges strengthened Ethiopia-China ties
Yemen's ex-president Saleh, relatives killed by Houthis
Most Popular
Hot Topics