Koreas seeking to hold youth football games next month

SEOUL, July 21 (Yonhap) — South and North Korea are seeking to hold a youth football tournament next month in Pyongyang as the South has reported no further cases of the MERS virus, a pro-unification group in the South said Tuesday.
The two Koreas are in talks to hold football matches between the two sides’ teenage teams in mid-August in the North’s capital, according to the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation.”The date has not been decided, but the two sides have been in constant talks for the U-15 football games,” said a council official.
The football games were supposed to have been held in May, but Pyongyang, highly sensitive to the outbreak of infectious diseases, had requested that Seoul del
ay the tournament twice on concerns about the spread of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in the South.
Since the outbreak in late May, 186 people have been infected with the viral disease in South Korea with the death toll reaching 36. Seoul reported no additional infections for more than two weeks on Tuesday.
The U-15 football games were first held in November in Yeoncheon, north of Seoul, when the North sent a group of 32 athletes and officials. In February, the second round of matches was held in Chengdu, China.
South Korea earlier said that it will encourage its civic groups to increase inter-Korean exchanges in non-political areas this year in a bid to promote national unity.sooyeon@yna.co.kr(END)