SEOUL, Sept. 1 (Korea Bizwire) — North Korea said Friday that more than 70 countries and regions have applied to attend the North Korea-led International Taekwondo Federation’s (ITF) championships to be held in Pyongyang later this month.
Preparations for the championships slated for Sept. 15-21 are in the final stage, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
This year marks the third time that the ITF is holding the sports event in North Korea following those in 1992 and 2011.
There are two international bodies of taekwondo — the Seoul-based World Taekwondo (WT) and the ITF. Currently, as the South Korea-led WT is the only global body sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the ITF is not able to compete in the Olympics.
The WT had plans to send its demonstration team to the upcoming championships in Pyongyang for performances at the opening ceremony. But the North’s organizer reportedly notified the South Korean body that it is not proper to send the demonstration team, given the current security situation.
In June, the ITF brought its demonstration team to South Korea for the WT-led World Taekwondo Championships in Muju, some 240 kilometers south of Seoul.
Seoul granted North Koreans’ visit to the South as it seeks to promote civilian inter-Korean exchanges in the hopes that sports exchanges can help improve strained inter-Korean ties.