North Korea will not attend the Tokyo Games

Sports

By CAPosts 06 April, 2021 - 06:38am 26 views

There will be no repetition, unlike the Winter Olympics three years ago , of a joint sports team from the two Koreas. The North has finally rejected its participation in the Olympic Games this summer in Tokyo , through a communication in a specialized publication in its country, arguing that the trip to Japan could pose a risk of contagion of covid for its athletes .

The decision, according to the North Korean website Sport in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (the official name of North Korea) marked a series of behind-the-scenes thaw maneuvers between Pyongyang and Seoul after a year of severe North Korean tensions and missile launches. The Kim Jong-un regime sent the leader's sister and right-hand man, Kim Yo Jong, to witness the competitions and open a negotiation that resulted in a rapprochement between the two capitals and, furthermore, the initial meeting between Kim and Donald Trump, in Singapore, the first summit in history between a North Korean leader and a US president. South Korea aspired to be able to take advantage of a similar circumstance in Tokyo, at a time when relations between the two neighbors were going through again. significant tensions

The North Korean decision has both sporting and political consequences. Three years ago, the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, served as the stage for a series of behind-the-scenes thaw maneuvers between Pyongyang and Seoul after a year of severe tensions and North Korean missile launches. The Kim Jong-un regime sent the leader's sister and right-hand man, Kim Yo Jong, to witness the competitions and open a negotiation that resulted in a rapprochement between the two capitals and, furthermore, the initial meeting between Kim and Donald Trump, in Singapore, the first summit in history between a North Korean leader and a US president. South Korea aspired to be able to take advantage of a similar circumstance in Tokyo, at a time when relations between the two neighbors are again undergoing significant tensions.

North Korea's absence also makes it impossible for the two Koreas to present a joint team in any of the competitions , as they did in Pyeongchang. The two countries then presented themselves with a unified selection in the women's ice hockey competition . Then, and despite the expectation that had aroused, the team accused the lack of joint preparation and went through the tournament with more pain than glory, accumulating three defeats and only one goal in favor.

In 2019, when the two Koreas lived a period of thaw in their relations, both governments had suggested the possibility of presenting joint teams in Tokyo and parading under a single banner, that of their unification. Specifically, as the International Olympic Committee (OIC) in Geneva mentioned at the time, the two countries were considering competing together in women's basketball and hockey competitions, judo and in some of the men's and women's rowing races. They have been closed tight for 15 months. This country, one of the most hermetic in the world, was one of the first to prevent the movement of people between its territory and abroad at the beginning of the covid pandemic. Since then, it assures that it has not detected a single case of coronavirus among its population, although it only states that it has carried out 22,389 tests among its 26 million inhabitants.

The International Olympic Committee (OIC) has declared in a statement that it has not received "any North Korea's National Committee's official request to be released from the obligation to participate, in accordance with the Olympic Charter. ”

Although North Korea will not attend the Games in Tokyo, it does maintain its national sports competitions. According to the specialized page NKNews , that country has indicated that it has held its annual tournaments to commemorate the birth of the founder of the regime, Kim Il Sung since the 5th of this month. The competitions will conclude on the 15th, or Day of the Sun in North Korea, the anniversary of the birth and one of the most important dates in the country's annual calendar.

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Source: Elpais

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