Title: North Korean Sports Delegation Returns to International Stage at 19th Asian Games
Date: September 22, 2023
Location: Hangzhou, China
On the eve of the opening of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, the North Korean sports delegation made a highly anticipated appearance at the official Asian Games event. This marked their return to a large-scale international sports venue after a five-year absence.
The North Korean delegation participated in the welcome ceremony at the Flag Square of the Asian Games Village on September 22, alongside delegations from Brunei, Cambodia, Palestine, Chinese Taipei, and Thailand. More than 20 North Korean athletes, dressed in white tops and blue trousers or skirts, proudly waved their national flags as they entered the stadium.
During the welcome ceremony, following China’s warm welcome speech and the exchange of gifts, the North Korean delegation took to the stage to shout cheering slogans and took a group photo. However, the delegation remained silent when reporters from various media outlets approached them with questions.
When asked about their goals for the Asian Games, a man who appeared to be a coach simply stated that their aim was to win the championship and expressed their excitement for the upcoming games.
It is worth noting that North Korea was absent from the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics without permission, citing concerns over the new coronavirus. As a result, the International Olympic Committee suspended North Korea until the end of 2022. However, with the ban on their participation automatically lifted in 2023, the North Korean delegation is now able to compete in comprehensive international events, marking their return after a five-year hiatus since the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.
The presence of the North Korean sports delegation at the 19th Asian Games reflects their renewed commitment to international sports diplomacy and their desire to showcase their athletic prowess on a global platform once again.
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