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N. Korea Cancels Participation in World University Games - 2003-08-18

North Korea has canceled plans to send athletes to South Korea for this month's World University Games, calling the South a "dangerous place" to visit.

The Asia-Pacific Committee, a North Korean government agency handling relations with the South, on Monday called it an "obvious reality" that it could not send athletes to the Games in Daegu. The statement called South Korea "a dangerous place where compatriots do harm to their brothers' safety and dignity."

The statement also complained about anti-North Korea protests in the South Friday, when about 5,000 protesters condemned Pyongyang's nuclear programs, burned pictures of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and urged him to step down. South Korea's Unification Minister, Jeong Se-Hyun, sent a telephone message to Pyongyang, urging the North to send the delegation. Organizers say the World University Games, a multi-sport competition for college athletes held every two years, will include at least 11,000 athletes and officials from 171 countries.