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Games-North Korea to send soccer teams to Incheon Asian Games


SEOUL, Jan 20 (Reuters) - North Korea will send men's and women's soccer teams to South Korea for this year's Asian Games in Incheon, its official news agency said on Monday, despite simmering political tension between the neighbours.

North Korea's official KCNA news agency said the Asian Games were one of the events its soccer teams would participate in this year.

It did not elaborate whether athletes from the reclusive country would compete in other events at the Sept. 19-Oct. 4 Games.

North and South Korea have been locked in a tense political standoff over Pyongyang's pursuit of nuclear arms and its demand for the South and the United States to scrap joint annual military drills, which it calls a prelude to war.

North Korea's women's soccer team won the East Asia Cup soccer tournament played in South Korea last year in a rare appearance amid political tensions.

The two Koreas are technically in a state of war because no peace treaty was signed at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

South Korea invited its communist neighbours through the Olympic Council of Asia last year to attend the Incheon Games.

North Korea attended the 2002 Games in Busan but had earlier boycotted the 1986 event in Seoul, as well as the 1988 Summer Olympics in the South. (Reporting by Jack Kim; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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