North Korea will not be participating in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The decision, which was announced at an Olympic committee meeting, comes amidst fears of a third wave of COVID-19 sweeping across the world.
However, this development has raised concerns over the diplomatic relationship between South Korea and North Korea.
North Korea’s withdrawal from the competition puts an end to South Korea’s hopes of using the games to strengthen relationship and revive peace negotiations with the North amidst stalled cross-border talks.
It has also setback plans for a joint Korean bid to host the 2032 Olympics games which was agreed at a 2018 summit.
North Korea will be the first major country to step down from the Olympics. However, the International Olympics Committee has said it had not “received an official application” from North Korea.
North Korea says it has not had any coronavirus cases.
According to South Korea’s Unification Ministry in charge of inter-Korean affairs, Seoul had hoped Tokyo Olympics would be a chance to “foster peace and reconciliation between the two Koreas.”
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