By Ellie-Louise Style
Due to fears of the coronavirus pandemic North Korea won’t be taking part in the summer Tokyo Olympics.
The decision was made by the country’s national Olympic Committee to protect its athletes from the risks of Covid-19.
The delayed event is due to start on the 23rd of July and North Korea is the first major country to withdraw from the event.
Pyongyang has claimed that North Korea has had no cases of Covid-19. It also has one of the strictest quarantine restrictions, but experts say that it’s very unlikely that they haven’t had any cases of Covid-19.
This decision means that the hopes of South Korea and North Korea uniting for talks has been delayed. Back in 2018 both of them decided to enter the Winter Olympics as a joint team and this led to many historic conferences together.
22 North Korean athletes arrived in Pyeonchang for the Winter Olympics, as well as government officials, journalists, performance artist and a 230 all-female cheerleading group.
Both of the North and South Korean athletes all marched together under a blue map that represented the two countries united.
Kim Yo Jong the sister of Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader attend the events. She informed the South Korean President Moon Jae-in that her brother wanted to organise a summit between the two of them. This helped initiate discussions between the United States and South Korea.
At first, it did seem as if progress was made between the two and former President Donald Trump even met with Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
However, last month North Korea decided to resume their missile tests. Since, both the North and the South have said that they want to continue discussions.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry mentioned in a statement that they had hoped the Tokyo Olympics would be an opportunity to “foster peace and reconciliation” between the North and the South. They also said they “regret it could not happen.”
It is going to be the first time in 33 years that North Korea will miss taking part in the Summer Olympics. They previously missed the games because of disputes with South Korea, and instead they boycotted them.
There are still concerns in Japan about the Olympics going ahead in the Summer because of Covid-19. The event was cancelled last year due to a Covid- 19 fears. It was the biggest sporting event to be affected by the pandemic.
The Olympic preparatory event has also been recently cancelled in Japan due to a break out of Coronavirus in the Japanese water polo team, and seven of them tested positive for the virus.
There’s also a potential fourth wave starting to show in the country, which is due to more variants of the virus being discovered in Japan.