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N. Korea to send downsized delegation to Asian Games

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Published : 2014-08-22 15:53
Updated : 2014-08-22 15:53

North Korea has scaled down the size of its delegation to the Asian Games to be held in South Korea next month, a ministry official said Friday, as it called for the resumption of talks meant to work out the details of its participation.

The North notified the South that it will send a 273-member delegation to the Asian Games to be held in Incheon, a port city west of Seoul, Ministry of Unification spokesman Kim Eyi-do said.

The figure represents a drop from the 352-member delegation the North had initially told the Olympic Council of Asia, the organizer of the regional sports event, it would bring to the event earlier this month.

Still, the number of North Korean athletes remained unchanged at 150, according to Kim.

The North has also proposed the two Koreas "discuss the practical issues through an exchange of letters," Kim said, adding Seoul plans to accept the proposal and take necessary steps.

North Korea unveiled its stance to South Korea's Ministry of Unification in a letter conveyed by Yang Song-ho, a North Korean official, who arrived in Seoul last Tuesday to attend various events before the Asian Games kicks off on Sept. 19.

Inter-Korean dialogue on the sports event has been stalled since July 17 when the North Korean delegation walked out of the negotiations in apparent dispute over how Seoul would assist Pyongyang's participation in the regional event.

The North's offer for the resumption of talks comes as it has threatened to attack South Korea over annual joint military drills underway between South Korea and the United States.

North Korea has condemned the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises as a rehearsal for an invasion. Seoul and Washington have repeatedly said such exercises are purely defensive in nature. (Yonhap)

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