Citing Pandemic Fears, North Korea Says It Won’t Attend Tokyo Olympics

A lady using a protective mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walks in front of he Olympic Rings on Tuesday in Tokyo. North Korea states it will not go to the games over COVID-19 fears.

Eugene Hoshiko/AP

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Eugene Hoshiko/AP

A lady wearing a protective mask to assist suppress the spread of the coronavirus walks in front of he Olympic Rings on Tuesday in Tokyo. North Korea says it will not participate in the games over COVID-19 fears.

Eugene Hoshiko/AP

Even so, organizers have prohibited overseas viewers from the Olympic and Paralympic Games this year as a preventative measure versus spreading out the coronavirus.

The choice to sit out the currently delayed Tokyo Games suggests the Norths professional athletes will be a no-show at the Olympics for the very first time considering that Pyongyang boycotted them in 1988, the year they were held in Seoul.

Park Won Gon, a teacher of North Korea research studies at Seouls Ewha Womans University, told The Associated Press that its not likely the North would change its mind about the Games, offered the low probability that it can secure adequate vaccine to inoculate its population of 26 million by the time the occasions begin.

North Korea claims to have actually no confirmed coronavirus cases or COVID-19 deaths. Pyongyang has a history of little to no openness about what is happening inside the country, some outdoors experts think that the nations near-total seclusion and aggressive lockdowns have most likely helped spare it from the worst of the pandemic, to the detriment of its economy.

The Olympics have currently been postponed a year due to the pandemic. In spite of speculation that they may be delayed yet again, Tokyos organizing committee has actually maintained adamantly that they will begin as intended on July 23. North Koreas relocation makes it the first major nation to say it is avoiding the video games as an outcome of the pandemic.

Victor Cha, senior vice president and Korea chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and a professor at Georgetown University, told NPRs Here & & Now in February that North Korea “is quite paranoid on a good day, however right now they are exceptionally paranoid about COVID getting into the country.”

Japans chief Cabinet secretary, Katsunobu Kato, stated Tokyo expressed hope that lots of nations would go to the Olympics and promised measures to minimize the danger of the spread of the infection, according to the AP.

The Olympics have already been held off a year due to the pandemic. In spite of speculation that they may be postponed yet again, Tokyos arranging committee has actually maintained adamantly that they will begin as prepared on July 23. North Koreas move makes it the first major country to state it is skipping the video games as a result of the pandemic.

The Norths Olympic Committee “chose not to participate in the 32nd Olympic Games throughout the [March 25] basic assembly to protect our athletes from the international health crisis situation associated to the coronavirus as proposed by committee members,” according to a translation by South Koreas Yonhap news service of the statement on an official state-run website devoted to sports affairs in North Korea.

The North has actually revealed “a coronavirus-related neurosis considering that it stated an emergency anti-virus system in January in 2015,” Park stated.

He stated while its tough to understand what is going on in the nation, “its definitely plausible that there are no cases inside the nation, due to the fact that they have actually sealed the border for more than a year.”

A South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman, Choi Young-sam, said it was not too late for Pyongyang to reverse its decision.

South Koreas Unification Ministry expressed regret over the Norths latest choice, saying it had actually hoped the Olympics would be an opportunity for enhancing inter-Korean relations.

Pyongyangs decision in 2018 to send out nearly 2 dozen professional athletes, federal government authorities including leader Kim Jong Uns influential sister, Kim Yo Jong, reporters and even a cheering squad with more than 200 members to the Winter Games in South Korea, helped break a diplomatic log-jam that resulted in a quick rapprochement with Seoul and Washington.

North Korea says it will avoid the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo, pointing out coronavirus issues– a move that annoys South Koreas hopes that the video games might revive stalled peace talks in between the bitter rivals.