South Korea will share the cost of North Korea's participation in the upcoming Incheon Asian Games in consideration of inter-Korean ties and previous cases, a government official said Tuesday.
Pyongyang has said it will send a 273-member group of athletes, coaches, referees and other officials to the games to take place in the South's western port city from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4.
"The (South Korean) government will fork out a portion of the cost," the unification ministry official told reporters. "I don't think there is a big gap between the South and the North regarding the cost issue."
Without specifying how much Seoul will contribute, he said it will be financed by the South-North Cooperation Fund.
"Since taxpayers' money will be used, we will make public the related information after the games," he added.
Seoul has maintained the position that its support for the North's delegation will be based on international practice but the unique characteristics of bilateral relations will be taken into account as well.
When the North dispatched a 362-member delegation to the 2002 Busan Asian Games, the South paid most of the bills for its stay.
Meanwhile, the ministry official reaffirmed that Seoul has no plan to request that Pyongyang send a cheerleading squad to Incheon, saying it is a matter to be decided by the community neighbor on its own.
"If it decides to do so, as we said before, we would welcome (it)," he said. (Yonhap)