North Korean athletes to participate in the Asian Games in China -KCNA

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean athletes have left Pyongyang for the Asian Games on Thursday that will take place in China, marking the first international, multisport event that North Korea has participated in since the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.

The Asian Games will take place in Hangzhou, China, from Sept. 23 to Oct. 8, a year after being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

KCNA did not mention the size of the team or athletes’ travel routes.

North Korea closed its borders to nearly all travel in early 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and dropped out of the Tokyo Olympics due to coronavirus concerns.

In August, North Korean taekwondo athletes participated in the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) World Championships in Kazakhstan, the first appearance by the country’s athletes at an overseas competition since the start of the pandemic.

North Korea was suspended from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) until the end of 2022, missing the Beijing Winter Games, after failing to send a team to Tokyo.

(Reporting by Heekyong Yang and Josh Smith; Editing by Sandra Maler)