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Young S Korean footballers head to Pyongyang

AFP  |  Seoul 

More than 150 South Korean athletes, journalists and officials left for today for a tournament, in the latest effort at diplomacy between the neighbours.

The two Koreas, who agreed to increase exchanges at a landmark summit between the South's Moon Jae-in and the North's in April, held a friendly match in last month.

The delegation - including 84 young footballers - will travel by bus to for their 10-day visit, marking the first overland trip by South Korean civilians to the North's capital in nearly seven years.

Two South Korean U-15 teams - FC Gangwon and Yeoncheon Miracle - will compete in the Ari Cup, a youth tournament that runs from August 13 to 18 and also includes China, Russia, and

A South Korean said the "rare opportunity" to play in the North's capital would be a "great experience" for his players regardless of the end result.

"Rather than obsessing about the score, we will try to serve as a peace delegation with a mission to advance South-North sports exchange," of FC Gangwon said.

As the South Korean delegation travelled north, 64 North Korean workers arrived in for a football match slated for tomorrow.

Waving mini white and blue "unification" flags - a pale blue silhouette of the - the of the North Korean group, Ju Yong Gil, said the football game will "create momentum for reunification throughout all classes".

It will mark the fourth such football match between North and South Korean workers, with the last game taking place in Pyongyang in 2015.

All civilian communication between the two countries - which remain technically at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice instead of a peace treaty - is banned unless approved by the governments. Sporting cooperation helped spark the current diplomatic thaw, after the North sent a high-level delegation, athletes, cheerleaders and performers to this year's in the South.

The two Koreas will also field joint teams at later this month and march together at the opening and closing ceremonies in

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, August 10 2018. 16:10 IST