SEOUL (AFP) - North Korea has backtracked on a promise to invite a South Korean taekwondo demonstration team to Pyongyang next month, a spokeswoman said on Friday (Aug 25), putting the trip in doubt amid political tensions.
Taekwondo, a Korean martial art, is as divided as the Korean peninsula, with the South Korean-based World Taekwondo (WT) organisation - which is recognised by the International Olympic Committee - holding its world championships in June in the South.
A team from the North Korea-led International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) performed a demonstration, and both agreed that a WT team would reciprocate at the ITF's world championships in Pyongyang in September.
But the ITF told WT, in a letter sent last week, that it would be "inappropriate" to go ahead, a WT spokeswoman told AFP.
"We've sent a mail to ITF headquarters for clarification and we are now waiting for a reply," he said.
The ITF gave no reasons for the about-face, but it comes amid high tensions over the nuclear-armed North's weapons programmes, which saw it subjected to a seventh round of United Nations Security sanctions earlier this month after it carried out two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July.