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South to Spend Some 3.7 Billion Won for North Koreans during Asian Games

South to Spend Some 3.7 Billion Won for North Koreans during Asian Games

Posted August. 29, 2002 22:31,   


In the second round working-level talks held near Mt. Keumgan on August 28, Seoul agreed to bear all the costs required for North Korean athletes and coaching staff to participate in the 14th Asian Games in Busan next month, promoting speculation about the total amount and details of expenditure.

The Busan Asian Games Organizing Committee (BAGOC), an organization in charge, has reportedly asked the Planning and Budget Agency to allocate some 3.7 billion won in Inter-Korean cooperation funds. It estimated that some 40 million won will be spent offering food and accommodations to the North Korean delegation, which will stay in the athletes’ village.

According to BAGOC, of the total 305 North Koreans in the delegation, 30 will be covered by the general rule that the hosting country offers free food and accommodations to 24 players and 6 coaches from each of participating countries. For the rest 275, the organization estimates that some $50 will be spent for each person for 25 days, which totals $344,000.

In addition, the organizing committee plans to offer a limousine bus instead of a shuttle bus to the North Korean delegation, along with 2 international phone lines and 10 direct lines to the North. If the delegates want to tour the city during the games, BAGOC will also arrange a free tour program.

The South has also agreed to bear all the costs with regard to the torch-lighting ceremony, which will take place in Mt. Baekdu on September 5. It will also prepare Korean uniforms for the opening and closing ceremony as it did during the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. BAGOC, however, remains reluctant to disclose all the details considering the public sentiment.

The 355-member cheering squad will pay their expenses themselves in principle, while the organizing committee helps them with transportation and tour guide. And some 700 North Koreans from Japan set to attend in the opening ceremony, and another 200 at the closing ceremony are also supposed to bear costs for their stay. The hosting South will only offer transportation information. If the cheering squad, which mostly comprises performing artists and instrument players, ask for performance arrangements, the committee plans to provide full support. The cheering squad will arrive in Busan on September 28 by “Mankyungbong 92,” where they will stay during the games.

Meanwhile, FILA has agreed to provide sports wear and shoes for North Korean players under an agreement it formed with North Korea in April last year. The sponsorship arrangement stipulates that the leading sports item maker provides wear and other related items to North Korean athletes attending international games for 3 years. The company offered sports wear and items to North Koreans already during the Sydney Olympics, and posted an advertisement within Pyongyang Gymnasium in February last year for the first time among foreign firms.

mars@donga.com zangpabo@donga.com