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GWANGJU, South Korea (AP) — With North Korea so far declining to send a team, organizers of the aquatics world championships in South Korea in July are urging a change of heart.
A joint declaration on Thursday by host city Gwangju and swimming world body FINA says "we earnestly desire the North Korean team to participate."
The July 12-28 championships — in swimming, water polo, diving, open water swimming, artistic swimming, high diving — will confirm qualification places for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
When North Korea sent invited athletes and an official delegation to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games, it fueled optimism in Olympic circles of future cooperation and a joint hosting bid for the 2032 Summer Games.
However, no North Korean has been entered for Gwangju ahead of a June 12 deadline.
FINA executive director Cornel Marculescu says "all channels remain open."
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