Universiade: South Korea rules out joint team with North

South Korea on Tuesday ruled out forming a joint team with North Korea for this year`s World Student Games because of high tensions with its communist neighbour.

Seoul: South Korea on Tuesday ruled out forming a joint team with North Korea for this year`s World Student Games because of high tensions with its communist neighbour.

North Korea has said it is ready to send athletes to the Games in July in Gwangju, but a South Korean official said a unified team was "not appropriate".

"Forming a unified team with North Korea is not in our consideration," a unification ministry official told reporters. "It`s not appropriate, given inter-Korean relations and public sentiment here."

North and South Korea remain technically at war, and relations have been fraught over Pyongyang`s nuclear ambitions and this month`s South Korean military drills with the United States.

However, the official said Seoul would consider subsidising the team from the North by applying "international norms and previous instances".

South Korea paid more than 70 percent of the $700,000 costs incurred by North Korea when it took part in the Asian Games hosted by the western city of Incheon last year.

Seoul has supported visiting sports teams from the North because its delegations need special transport and accommodation arrangements for security reasons.

North Korea has offered to send 75 athletes and 33 officials for the Universiade, often a stage for future stars to shine, which is scheduled from July 3 to 14.

The two Koreas competed alongside each other at the 1991 world table tennis championships and world youth football championships, but never at a multi-sports event.

Both teams marched together under the blue and white Unification flag at opening ceremonies of the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, and the 2006 Winter Olympics and Asian Games.
 

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