January 10, 2022 10:28
North Korea has officially informed China that it will not take part in the Beijing Winter Olympics that start next month. It had already been banned by the International Olympic Committee for refusing to take part in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo last year, so the notice was a mere formality.
The North Korean regime sent a letter to China's Olympic Committee notifying it of the decision, the official [North] Korean Central News Agency reported last Friday, just two days after North Korea fired a hypersonic missile as President Moon Jae-in visited a military border unit on the east coast.
"We could not take part in the Olympics due to the hostile forces' moves and the worldwide pandemic, but we fully support our Chinese comrades in all their work to hold a splendid and wonderful Olympic festival," it read.
The North has been suspended from any Olympic events until the end of this year due to its refusal to take part in the Tokyo Olympics amid the pandemic, but North Korean athletes could have competed as individuals.
Still, there was some disappointment in South Korea, where the government had hoped to use the Games as a spur to engaging the North in international dialogue.
A government official here said, "North Korea tried to use its relationship with South Korea to be recognized as a nuclear power and ease international sanctions. Once it became impossible to achieve those goals due to rising U.S.-China tensions, the North felt it had no reason to attend the Olympics and risking COVID-19 infections."
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