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N.Korean footballer eyes ‘ambassador’ role in South

Published: January 8, 2013 | 9:55 am
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SEOUL – North Korean striker Jong Tae-Se said he saw himself as an “ambassador” for inter-Korean sporting exchanges as he underwent a medical Tuesday for his formal transfer to one of South Korea’s top clubs.

Jong, 28, who currently plays for FC Koln in the second division of the German Bundesliga, has been bought by Suwon Samsung Bluewings in the South’s K-League for a reported 300,000-euro ($395,850) transfer fee.

“Playing in South Korea means as much to me as representing North Korea internationally,” Jong was quoted as saying by Yonhap news agency.

“While I am here, I’d be pleased to serve as an ambassador between the South and the North,” he said.

“My goal is to win the championship… I’ve never won a title as a player and I would like win one with Suwon.”

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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