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May 12, 2010

Korean dispute may force TV blackout

By Soccernet staff

Tension between North and South Korea over a sunken warship could see North Korean fans forced to miss out on watching the World Cup on TV.

Korea has been a source of tension.
GettyImagesKorea has been a source of tension.

The South were due for talks over providing a free TV feed to the North - who will play in their first World Cup since 1966 - during the tournament, but these have now stalled after Seoul claimed it was still investigating a blast which sank a warship off its coast in March.

South Korean broadcaster SBS said "strained inter-Korean ties" meant the talks had not progressed as planned and claimed that the terms for TV coverage in South Africa had not been agreed.

"We had planned to move forward with the talks in earnest in April and May, but they didn't progress amid strained inter-Korean ties," said SBS in a statement.

"The most important factor to consider is public sentiment," an unnamed official at SBS told AFP. "The sinking of the ship has worsened cross-border relations, which has halted talks on offering North Korea possible free World Cup broadcasts."

The political tension between the two countries has worsened over the sinking of the Cheonan on March 26 (at a cost of 46 lives) and the much-disputed maritime border is still a source of disagreement.

The South Korean government has, so far, not commented on the dispute.