World / Asia-Pacific

Talks begin for DPRK's participation in S.Korea-hosted Asian Games

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-07-17 11:13

SEOUL - Working-level talks between the two Koreas began Thursday to discuss the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s participation in the upcoming Asian Games to be hosted by South Korea.

Talks begin for DPRK's participation in S.Korea-hosted Asian Games

DPRK to send cheering squad to Asian Games 

Three-member delegations from the two sides opened the meeting at 10 am local time as planned at the truce village of Panmunjom, an official at the Incheon Asian Games Organizing Committee said.

It will be the first inter-Korean meeting for a sports event since February 2008 when the two Koreas talked about a joint cheering squad for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

The South Korean side was led by Kwon Kyung-sang, secretary general of the Incheon Asian Games Organizing Committee. Son Kwang- ho, vice chairman of the DPRK's Olympic Committee, headed the DPRK delegation.

"The working-level contact is for consultation on comprehensive issues related to the participation of North Korea ( DPRK) athletes and its cheering contingent in the Incheon Asian Games. We will face the contact with a calm and sincere attitude to successfully host the Incheon Asian Games," Kwon said before leaving for the dialogue venue.

Pyongyang said in late May that it would send some 150 athletes and coaches along with a large cheering squad to the upcoming Asian Games, which will be held in South Korea's western port city of Incheon from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4.

During the talks, the two sides are expected to discuss a number of issues, including transporting the large DPRK sports delegation which was estimated at 400 to 600 and paying the cost necessary for the delegation's stay here.

The negotiators from the two Koreas may discuss whether to create a united team for some sports events, march together at the opening ceremony and form a joint cheering team.

The Incheon Asian Games will be the third to be hosted by South Korea 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 together 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.

It will also be the first dispatch of the DPRK's cheering contingent since 2005 when Pyongyang sent hundreds of cheerleaders to South Korea for the Asian Athletics Championships in Incheon. The DPRK sent them to the South for the 2002 Busan Asian Games and 2003 Daegu Summer Universiad.

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