INCHEON: North Korea's victories at the Asian Games are a new example of how sport, politics and diplomacy are often mixed in dealings with Pyongyang, and by the isolated state's propaganda machine.

Here are five key dates: 1966 -- North Korea becomes the first Asian team to reach the quarter-finals of football's World Cup. The North's state media said the performance "stunned the world" and a 1-0 victory over Italy to reach the final eight made the Koreans many people's sentimental favourites.

1988 -- North Korea boycotted the Seoul Olympics after the International Olympic Committee rejected its demand to be a full co-host of the Games. South Korea had offered to let some events be staged in the North, including table tennis. The rival countries paraded together at the 2000 Sydney Olympics opening ceremony. 1994 -- North Korean state media reports that "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-Il shot five holes-in-one in his first ever round of golf, a 38-under-par 34, at the Pyongyang Golf Club.

2000 -- US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited North Korea and offered Kim Jong-Il a basketball signed by NBA legend Michael Jordan as a gift. Jordan declined an invitation to visit Pyongyang. Dennis Rodman did go in 2013 and met current leader Kim Jong-Un. 2012 -- North Korea's women's football team walked off the pitch at the 2012 London Olympics in protest after the South Korean