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(LEAD) N. Korea to send six reporters to Incheon Asiad: ABU

All Headlines 15:35 July 30, 2014

(ATTN: UPDATES with S. Korean government's response in paras 6-8, other details in last para; ADDS photo)
By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL, July 30 (Yonhap) -- North Korea plans to send a six-member media team to the South Korean city of Incheon next month for the coverage of the Asian Games, a news report said Wednesday.

Last week, Pyongyang sent a letter to the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) requesting cooperation on its plan, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA), a Washington-based network.

"North Korea requested a letter of invitation (for its reporters) and a schedule (for games)," the RFA quoted an ABU official as saying. The ABU is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The North's move would mark another clear sign that it is determined to take part in the Incheon Asian Games to open on Sept. 19 for a two-week run.

The North said it would dispatch 350 athletes and coaches, along with the same number of cheerleaders.

South Korean government officials said they did not receive any related information from North Korea.

"As far as I know, there has been no formal contact from North Korea yet (on the reported plan to dispatch reporters). But it would be no surprise even if it sends reporters to the Incheon Asian Games," a unification ministry official said.

The North is also expected to include 10-20 referees in its delegation, the official added, pointing out it sent 13 referees to the 2002 Busan Asian Games.

(LEAD) N. Korea to send six reporters to Incheon Asiad: ABU - 2

The reclusive communist nation's leader, Kim Jong-un, openly said its participation in the games would help improve inter-Korean relations.

The South agrees that it could contribute to efforts not only to break the ice on the peninsula but also to draw more international attention to the Incheon Asian Games.

But Pyongyang has not proposed a new round of talks with Seoul yet on related details, including who will pay for the cost of the North's delegation.

South Korean officials made clear that their government has no plan to first offer talks over the issue, saying the North is to blame for the failure of the previous meeting on July 17.

Aug. 15 is the deadline for the North to submit a formal list of its participating athletes and referees to the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and the organizing committee of the Incheon games.



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