North Korea has submitted a list of members of its athletic delegation to the Asian Games to be held south of the border, the event's chief organizer said Thursday, despite having recently threatened to back out of the competition.
The revelation by Kim Young-soo, president of the organizing committee for the Asian Games in Incheon, located west of Seoul, comes as the two Koreas are still trying to narrow their differences on some logistical issues concerning the North's participation.
"North Korea informed the Olympic Council of Asia on Wednesday that it will send 150 athletes in 14 sports to the Asian Games, for a total of 352 people in its delegation," Kim said. The deadline to submit the list is Friday.
North Korea had earlier committed to participate in the Sept.
19-Oct. 4 event. After the inter-Korean working-level talks last month ended without an agreement on who will pay for the North Koreans' stay during the Asian Games, however, the North threatened to boycott the event and held the South responsible for the breakdown of the talks.
No follow-up meeting was scheduled immediately, but Seoul proposed high-level talks with Pyongyang on Monday to discuss issues of "mutual concern."
While participating nations usually directly inform the host nation of the size of their delegations, North Korea contacted the OCA because it had no direct line with the Incheon organizing committee, officials here explained.
North Korea will send teams in both men's and women's football, for a total of 38 athletes, more than in other sports. The country will have 16 swimmers, 12 weightlifters, 12 gymnasts, 10 table tennis players and nine wrestlers, among others.
In addition to athletes, the North submitted a list of 173 coaches and officials and 29 referees and journalists.
According to the Incheon organizers, the North will likely end up sending fewer people than it currently plans to after the Delegation Registration Meeting set for early next month. Countries typically keep the number of their non-competing officials to about 50 percent of the number of their athletes at international multisport competitions.
"As it stands, North Korea would have more officials than athletes," an official with the organizing committee said. "There will be discussions with the OCA, but it appears that the size of the North Korean delegation will be reduced."
The North also competed at the previous Asian Games held in South Korea, the 2002 event in Busan. At the time, the reclusive state sent 184 athletes and 132 officials in 18 sports.
With the North's stated commitment to the Incheon Asiad, all 45 members of the OCA have registered to compete in the continental event. (Yonhap)