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

SEOUL, July 23 (Yonhap) -- North Korea pressed South Korea Wednesday to seize a "golden opportunity" for improving bilateral relations, reaffirming its resolve to join the upcoming Incheon Asian Games.

In a statement, the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland stressed 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 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.

In the talks, the North claimed, its negotiators put forward "the most realistic and reasonable" proposals but that the South stuck to an insincere attitude.

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

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