Incheon: North Korea`s footballers took China apart 3-0 on Monday as they made an immediate impression in what was their first action at the Asian Games in South Korea.
Goals from Sim Hyon-Jin, So Kyong-Jin and Ri Hyok-Chol made it an easy debut outing for North Korea`s men, who are among more than 250 athletes who are crossing the sensitive border.
Fans waving the blue and white Korean Unification Flag, and others with the North Korean colours, stood and applauded what was a straightforward group win at Incheon Football Stadium.
The North Koreans were frequently allowed to run at China and they quickly went ahead when Sim arrowed a shot past goalkeeper Fang Jingqi after only 10 minutes.
So Hyon-Uk`s close-range shot deflected off Fang and on to the crossbar, and Sim ran into the box but fired over as North Korea enjoyed a commanding first half.
So Kyong-Jin doubled their advantage on 57 minutes when, receiving the ball on the edge of the box, he had time and space to pick his spot.
North Korea made it three when Ri Hyok-Chol was played in with a neat ball through the defence and he wrong-footed the exposed Fang.
A strong showing by North Korea at the quadrennial Games would be likely to please the reclusive communist state`s leader, renowned sports fan Kim Jong-Un.
The visit is sensitive and Asiad organisers have removed all national flags from Incheon`s streets, fearful that anti-Pyongyang protesters may damage North Korea`s emblem.
Among other results, Vietnam swamped Iran 4-1 and Ferdinand Sinaga hit four as Indonesia ran riot in a 7-0 rout of tiny East Timor.
Football is the first competition underway at the Asian Games in Incheon, near Seoul, which will formally open with a gala ceremony on Friday.