The Korea Herald


Host China confirms N. Korean registration for Asian Games

By Yonhap

Published : June 14, 2023 - 20:04

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Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium in Hangzhou, China (Yonhap) Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium in Hangzhou, China (Yonhap)

China has confirmed North Korea's registration for this year's Asian Games to be held in its eastern city of Hangzhou.

At a press conference Wednesday in Hangzhou, Zhou Jinqiang, vice chairman of the Asiad organizing committee, said all 45 national Olympic committees in Asia have signed up for the Sept. 23 to Oct. 8 event.

Zhou didn't name individual countries, but his figure of 45 members of the Olympic Council of Asia includes North Korea.

Reports out of Japan last month had claimed North Korea had registered a delegation of approximately 200 for the Asian Games, and Zhou's announcement was the first official confirmation by the host country.

Zhou, who is also deputy director of General Administration of Sport of China, said all the competition venues are ready for the Asian Games.

Hangzhou will be the main host, and the neighboring cities of Deqing, Jinhua, Ningbo, Shaoxing and Wenzhou will also hold some of the 40 events and 61 disciplines.

North Korea did not participate in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo two years ago, citing the COVID-19 pandemic. The International Olympic Committee then banned North Korea from the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics as punishment for its "unilateral decision" to skip the Tokyo Olympics.

The suspension ran out at the end of 2022, clearing the way for North Korea to make its first appearance at an international multi-sport competition since the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.

South Korea plans to send a delegation of 1,180 athletes and officials, its largest for an Asiad.

The 19th Asian Games had been scheduled for Sept. 10 to Sept. 25, 2022, but were postponed by a year due to the pandemic. This will be the first Summer Asiad to be held in an odd-numbered year.