North Korea out of Tokyo Olympics over Covid fears

North Korea out of Tokyo Olympics over Covid fears

North Korea’s sports minister Kim Il Guk in Tokyo. Kyodo/REUTERS File

SEOUL, April 6

North Korea said it will not participate in the Tokyo Olympics because of the coronavirus pandemic. A website run by the North’s sports ministry said the decision was made during a national Olympic Committee meeting on March 25 where members prioritised protecting athletes from the “world public health crisis caused by Covid-19”.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry today expressed regret over the North’s decision, saying it had hoped that the Tokyo Olympics would provide an opportunity to improve inter-Korean relations, which have declined amid a stalemate in larger nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang. — Agencies