Anchor: North Korea said it will not attend this year's Tokyo Olympic Games, set to be held from July 23 to August 8, to protect the safety of its athletes from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement has dealt a blow to Seoul's plans to renew dialogue with Pyongyang at the international sports event.
Choi You Sun reports.
Report: A website run by North Korea's Sports Ministry announced on Tuesday that the country will not participate in this year's Tokyo Olympics due to concerns over COVID-19.
The announcement said the North's Olympic Committee made the decision at a general assembly meeting on March 25, citing the need to protect the country's athletes during the global health crisis.
Such news dashed South Korea's hopes to take advantage of the games to revive the stalled denuclearization dialogue and peace process with the North, similar to a series of events during and after the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
Seoul's plans to have the two Koreas jointly march together during the opening ceremony and field a unified team for a number of events have also fallen through.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga had also expressed openness to engage in talks with the North ahead of the Olympics to discuss Pyongyang's abduction of Japanese nationals from decades ago.
It also remains unlikely the two Koreas will jointly seek to co-host the 2032 Summer Olympics, especially after the International Olympic Committee(IOC) named Brisbane, Australia, the preferred host and extended an invitation to the city for targeted dialogue.
Choi You Sun, KBS World Radio News.