North Korea Urges South To Accept Large Delegation To Incheon Asian Games
North Korea has urged Asian Games host South Korea to seize a "golden opportunity" to improve relations between the fractious neighbors and accept its proposal for a party of 700 athletes and officials to take part in the multi-sport event, according to Narae Kim of REUTERS. Talks between the two countries about participation in the September showpiece in Incheon "ended last week with the North threatening to pull out of the Games." North Korea was unhappy that its "larger-than-expected party of 350 athletes and a similar amount of cheerleaders was not agreed to by the South." The North's KCNA official news agency ran a statement from the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland on Wednesday "pushing the South to accept the deal." The statement said, "No one should have impure intent to misuse pure sports activity for political purposes." The North, which has threatened to conduct a fourth nuclear test, has recently "proposed steps to ease tension and believed participation in the Games would also help" (REUTERS, 7/23).