Reversing an earlier position, the South Korean government said Tuesday that it is "impossible" to form joint teams with North Korea for the upcoming Asian Games, given tight schedules and current inter-Korean relations.
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.
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.
The host city of Incheon has been pushing to form joint South-North Korean teams in some of the 36 sports during the regional sports event.
An official at the Unification Ministry in charge of inter-Korean relation had said earlier in the day that the ministry plans to discuss forming a joint team with North Korea with the city of Incheon and the organizing committee if an official request is filed.
"Our consistent stance is that forming a unified team with North Korea is impossible at the moment given current inter-Korean relations and the event's schedules," the ministry said in its statement later in the day.
In April, the ministry said it had determined that it would not be desirable to have joint South-North Korean teams, a joint parade or a joint cheering squad given the current inter-Korean situation.