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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ South Korea will allow the flying the North Korean flag, a crime in the South, during the Asian Games.

Flying the flag of the communist North is a crime under the South's anti-communist National Security Law. Under the law, praise for or open sympathy with anti-state groups can lead to a maximum of seven years in prison.

North Korea will send 350 athletes and officials to compete in the games Sept. 29-Oct. 14 in the southern port city of Busam.

``I think it's difficult to stop the flying of a national flag in an international event,'' said Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun during a parliamentary hearing Friday. ``It will be inevitable, though they will have to fly the flag in as few occasions as possible.''

Jeong said the Busan Asian Games Organizing Committee will make a final decision after considering public sentiments and consulting the Seoul government and the Olympic Committee of Asia.

North and South Korean sports officials will discuss the playing of the North Korean national anthem when they meet Aug. 17-20 to discuss the North's entry into the Asian Games, said Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hong-je.