South Korean Olympic Committee Opposes Idea Of Unified Korean Team For Asian Games
The South Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) "has scuttled the idea of a joint athletic delegation of South and North Korea for the upcoming Incheon Asian Games, even though neither side has proposed it," according to Nam Hyun-woo of the KOREA TIMES. KOC President Kim Jung-haeng said, "It is ill-timed to make a joint delegation with North Korean athletes for the Incheon Games, which will kick off in just two months." Kim said that "KOC's opposition came in preparation to possible suggestions about a joint athletic delegation." He said that 38 presidents of the KOC's member federations "had a meeting before the conference to decide their stance." They were "concerned that a joint delegation would deprive many South Korean athletes of chances to represent their country in one of the biggest sports events." The KOC's opposition "will probably deal a blow to already stumbling talks over the North's participation" (KOREA TIMES, 7/18). YONHAP reported North Korean leader Kim Jong-un "stressed that his country's participation in the Asian Games in South Korea would help improve cross-border relations." Kim said, "The participation of the DPRK's players in the 17th Asian Games offers an important occasion in improving the relations between the north and the south and removing distrust between them" (YONHAP, 7/20).