Kim Jong-un calls for N. Korea’s participation in more global sports events

March 26, 2015
Uzbekistan’s Shavkatjon Mulladjanov kicks the ball as North Korea’s Pak Kwang Ryong attempts to block during the first round soccer match of the AFC Asia Cup between Uzbekistan and North Korea in Sydney, Australia,  Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

Uzbekistan’s Shavkatjon Mulladjanov kicks the ball as North Korea’s Pak Kwang Ryong attempts to block during the first round soccer match of the AFC Asia Cup between Uzbekistan and North Korea in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

SEOUL, March 26 (Yonhap) — North Korean leader Kim Jong-un encouraged the country’s athletes to join as many international sports events as possible, with the aim of becoming a sports power, according to Pyongyang’s media Thursday.

The North held a national meeting of sportspersons on Wednesday at a stadium in the capital, said the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Kim was absent from the conference, the seventh of its kind, but he sent a letter to participants.

He emphasized the role of sports in “increasing the national power, exalting the dignity and honor of the nation, arousing national pride and self-esteem among the people and making revolutionary spirit prevail in the whole society,” the KCNA reported.

Kim, known as a die-hard sports fan, said the North needs to hold more sports competitions and athletes should participate in many international games, it added.

The North announced plans to send a team of athletes and coaches to the Gwangju Summer Universiade slated for July 3-14 in the South Korean city.

It also dispatched a 273-member delegation to the Incheon Asian Games in South Korea last year.

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