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(Olympics) N. Korea angry at S. Korean journalists for covering practice
LONDON, July 23 (Yonhap) -- North Korean table tennis officials here on Monday reacted angrily to South Korean journalists who attempted to take pictures of their practice ahead of the upcoming London Olympics, in the latest display of strained ties between the two countries.

   North Korean table tennis players had practice at ExCeL South Arena, which will also serve as the venue for the Olympic competitions from July 28 to Aug. 2. As South Korean photographers began to capture the players in action, an official threw a towel toward them and yelled, "Don't shoot."

  
A North Korean table tennis official throws a towel toward South Korean journalists during the team's practice in London on July 23, 2012, ahead of the Olympic Games. (Yonhap)


"Why can't you Koreans understand Korean language?" said the North Korean official. "You're not supposed to shoot us before the tournament. If you keep doing this, we will not sit idly by."

   Athletes' training sessions are open to members of the press. When South Korean journalists complained to the local organizing committee, however, an official said the North Koreans' refusal to allow journalists to cover their practice should be respected.

   North Korea sent 51 athletes in 11 sports, including table tennis, judo, weightlifting and archery, for the July 28-Aug. 12 Olympics.

   The two Koreas have marched together in opening ceremonies at previous Olympic Games, lastly at the 2004 Athens Summer Games. However, under strained relations in recent years, the Koreas haven't discussed a joint march for this year's Olympics.

   The Koreas remain technically at war, since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.

   jeeho@yna.co.kr
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