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Asian Games: North Korea attend draw for group sports

North Korean sports officials attended the Asian Games draw on Thursday (Aug 21) for football and other group sports, despite continuing doubts over their participation in next month's Asiad in South Korea.

SEOUL: North Korean sports officials attended the Asian Games draw on Thursday (Aug 21) for football and other group sports, despite continuing doubts over their participation in next month's Asiad in South Korea. The draws, in the western port of Incheon near Seoul, were watched by five North Korean officials, organisers said, after an eight-member delegation from Pyongyang arrived in Incheon on Tuesday to attend pre-Asiad functions and inspect sports facilities.

Organisers saw the delegation's rare trip to South Korea as a strong indication that Pyongyang would participate in the Asian Games which begin on September 19 and end on October 4. Cross-border tensions have been high following an extended series of rocket and missile launches by the nuclear-armed country.

North Korea have submitted an entry list of 150 athletes in 14 sports through the Olympic Council of Asia, although there has been no official confirmation of their attendance in Incheon. Pyongyang's delegation walked out of North-South talks last month intended to coordinate logistics about the games, accusing Seoul of arrogance and insincerity.

Seoul had reportedly proposed breaking from the custom of financially supporting visiting sporting delegations from the North, to move into line with international sporting standards. The North bristled at the change and threatened to boycott the Asian Games. No further talks have been held, or proposed, by either side.

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