N. Korean striker to join S. Korean football club

SEOUL (AFP) - North Korean international striker Jong Tae Se is to join one of South Korea's top football clubs next week, a team official said on Thursday.

Jong, 28, who currently plays for FC Koln in the second division of the German Bundesliga, is being transferred to Suwon Samsung Bluewings in the K-League, Suwon's General Manager Lee Ho Seung said.

"We've reached an agreement with Koln to transfer Jong to us. Jong will arrive here as early as next Monday for a medical test. If he passes the test, we will sign a contract with him," Lee told AFP.

Suwon agreed to pay Koln 300,000 euros (S$490,000) as a transfer fee, Lee said. Yonhap news agency said Jong's annual salary would be around 400 million won (S$460,000).

Jong, born in Japan to a South Korean father and a North Korean mother, has a North Korean passport.

He made his professional debut with Kawasaki Frontale in Japan's J-League in 2006 and won his first cap for North Korea in 2007. He was part of the national squad that qualified and played in the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Jong has racked up 15 goals in 28 games for North Korea, but his club scoring record has been lacklustre since moving to Germany in 2010.

Jong will become the fourth North Korean to play in the K-League. The last was An Yong Hak - also Japanese-born - who played for two different South Korean clubs from 2006 to 2009.

Suwon is one of the most popular clubs in the country and has won the K-league championship four times since its founding in 1995 - with its most recent title coming in 2008.

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