South Korea is willing to consider forming joint teams with North Korea in some events for the upcoming Asian Games if such a request is made, the unification ministry said Tuesday.
Last month, North Korea announced its plan to join the 2014 Asian Games to be held in the metropolitan city of Incheon, just west of Seoul, from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4.
The host city of Incheon has been pushing to form joint South and North Korean teams in some of the 36 sports during the regional sports event.
"(The government's) stance is to support the successful hosting of the Asian Games, therefore if North Korea participates in the upcoming competition, (we) will treat them in accordance with international practices," a unification ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
"Regarding the reported (plan) to form a united team, the ministry plans to discuss it with the city of Incheon and the organizing committee if an official request is filed."
The latest position from the ministry in charge of inter-Korean affairs marks a departure from its previous rejection of a proposal to form a joint team.
The ministry said in April that "it is determined to be not proper to have joint South-North Korean teams, a joint parade or a joint cheering squad given the current (inter-Korean) situation."
But it is still unclear whether the joint team plan could be put into action, given that there is only three months left before the opening of the 2014 Asian Games.
If the North participates in the event, it will be the communist country's second Asian Games appearance in South Korea, after the Busan competition 12 years ago. (Yonhap)