Asian Games organizers ask IOC to bring NKorea

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) South Korean organizers for this year’s Asian Games said Tuesday they’ve asked the International Olympic Committee to help bring North Korea to the quadrennial sports events.

North Korea’s state media said in January the country will take part in men’s and women’s football competitions at the Asian Games to be held in the South Korean city of Incheon, but it’s not clear if it will take any further part in the event.

The Asian Games’ organizing committee said in a statement that committee chief Kim Young Soo asked IOC President Thomas Bach to make efforts to help realize a perfect Asian Games with the participation of North Korea in a Kuwait meeting this week.

Bach gave assurances the IOC will attempt to do so, the statement said.

The rival Koreas remain in a technical state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. On Monday, the countries fired hundreds of artillery shells into each other’s waters in a flare-up of animosity that forced residents of frontline South Korean islands to evacuate to shelters.

North Korea boycotted the 1986 Asian Games and the 1988 Summer Olympics, both held in Seoul, but the country attended the 2002 Asian Games in the southeastern South Korean city of Busan and the 2003 University games in another South Korean city of Daegu.

Athletes from the two Koreas marched together at the opening ceremony under a ”unified Korea” flag at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and they extended the tradition at the 2004 Athens Olympics, the 2002 Busan Asian Games, the 2006 Doha Asian Games and other international sports events.