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(LEAD) N. Korea urges S. Korea to accept its offer on Asiad participation

All Headlines 17:22 July 23, 2014

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with Seoul's stance, other details)

SEOUL, July 23 (Yonhap) -- North Korea pressed South Korea Wednesday to make concessions on the logistics of its planned participation in the Incheon Asian Games, namely on providing financial support for its delegation, saying Seoul may lose a "golden opportunity" for improving bilateral relations.

In a statement, the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland stressed that Pyongyang hopes to turn the sports event into a chance for warming inter-Korean ties and dissipating mutual mistrust.

"No one should have impure intent to misuse pure sports activity for political purposes," it said. "The South Korean authorities should not lose this golden opportunity for improving North-South relations." The committee deals with Pyongyang's relations with Seoul.

Its statement, carried by Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency, came a week after failed talks between the two Koreas on the size and cost of the North's delegation.

The North said it would send 350 athletes and coaches to the games to take place from Sept. 19 through Oct. 4 in the South's western port city of Incheon. It added it is also dispatching the same number of cheerleaders.

The deal breaker in the talks was apparently about who will pay for the North's delegation.

The South wants North Korea to foot the bill for its own delegation, including stadium tickets for cheerleaders, in accordance with international practice.

The North, however, apparently expects the South to provide almost all financial support as it did during previous sports events such as the 2002 Busan Asian Games.

In last week's talks, the committee said, the North said its cheerleading squad will instead sleep in a ferry that they will use to travel to Incheon.

The committee argued that it put forward "the most realistic and reasonable" proposals but that the South stuck to an insincere attitude.

The two sides, meanwhile, have not set a date yet for the next round of talks on the matter.

The South Korean government said it has no intention of first proposing a follow-up meeting.

"We will wait and see about North Korea's attitude. After that, the government will make a decision. Currently, we are monitoring North Korea's attitude," unification ministry spokesman Kim Eui-do said at a press briefing earlier in the day.

lcd@yna.co.kr

leechidong@gmail.com
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