N Korean footballers arrive in South


North Korea’s football team has arrived in South Korea for the first match between the two countries for nearly 10 years.

They will play on Saturday in Seoul’s main stadium – scene of South Korea’s unexpected success in the recent World Cup, when the team reached the semi-finals.

The two teams last met in 1993, when the South won 3-0. The new game comes at a time of tentative moves by the two countries to improve their relations.

In the past two weeks, North Korea has held talks at various levels with the South, Russia and Japan as Pyongyang makes new attempts to widen its links with the outside world.

Symbolic ceremonies

Hours before the North Koreans footballers arrived in the South, there were simultaneous torch-lighting ceremonies in the two countries.

These were held in a symbolic gesture of reconciliation marking North Korea’s participation in the Asian Games, to be held in the southern town of Busan later this month.

In South Korea, seven women dressed as angels lit a torch using sunlight reflected by a mirror at the summit of the country’s highest peak, Halla Mountain, on the southernmost island of Juju.

The North Koreans lit their torch on top of Mount Paekdu, the most sacred place of the country and the birthplace of their leader, Kim Jong-il.

The two torches will unite on the border on Saturday, and then a single torch will travel around South Korea to Busan.


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