S. Korea football chief struggles to resume N. Korea ties

Chung Mong-Gyu (2nd R), president of the Korea Football Association, accepts a replica of the World Cup trophy from former French footballer Christian Karembeu (L) during the FIFA World Cup 2014 Trophy Tour in Seoul on April 4, 2014 (AFP Photo/Jung Yeon-Je)

Seoul (AFP) - South Korean football chief Chung Mong-Gyu struggled in his efforts to resume football ties with North Korea during a recent visit to Pyongyang, the Korea Football Association (KFA) said Monday.

A KFA official told the South's Yonhap news agency that Chung had only managed a 20-minute sit-down with his North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong-Nam, during his four-day visit to attend a meeting of the East Asian Football Federation executive committee.

Chung had wanted to push for the resumption of international friendlies, the last of which was held 10 years ago.

The two Koreas have remained technically at war since the end of the 1950-53 Korean conflict, and relations are prone to dramatic mood swings.

Nearly all cross-border ties -- economic, cultural and sporting -- were severed following the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel in 2010, which Seoul blamed on a torpedo from a North Korean submarine.

According to the KFA, Chung proposed a series of exhibition matches by professional players from both sides, as well as joint training sessions for their respective women's under-20 teams, ahead of the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup.

A KFA official told Yonhap that Ri's only response had been that the two sides should talk further.

"Chung only had about 20 minutes with Ri and they didn't get to discuss anything in depth," the official said.