10 January 2011

North Korean translator is gatekeeper at Asian Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP)—North Korea’s national team has a simple message for media at the Asian Cup: don’t ask us anything about the isolated country or its regime.

The team’s translator batted away questions Monday on conditions in the country with a curt “come, visit North Korea” and refused to allow the team’s coach Jo Tong Sop to answer it. Other no-go areas included a question about reports of players being sent to a labor camp after its 2010 World Cup failures.

Even Jo responded to a question about possibly facing South Korea in the knockout stage with a gruff insistence that he would only discuss its next opponent, the United Arab Emirates.

Jo dismissed suggestions that the country was closed off, saying he watched occasional Premier League and Bundesliga matches.

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