North Korea on Monday said it will not participate in this summer's Tokyo Olympics, citing the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement was made via a website run by North Korea's sports ministry, The Associated Press reports, with officials saying the decision not to send athletes to the games was made during a meeting in late March. Japanese Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa told reporters she is still working on confirming details on the matter.
In 2018, 22 North Korean athletes competed in the Winter Olympics, held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and were supported by a 230-member cheer squad. North and South Korean athletes marched together under a flag that symbolized a unified Korean peninsula, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, attended the games and made an overture on behalf of her brother, letting South Korea know he wanted to have a summit with President Moon Jae-in.
South Korea's Unification Ministry on Tuesday said it had been hoping this year's Olympics could be used to improve relations between the two countries.