Sport North Korea dumps Tokyo Olympics due to pandemic
North Korea’s tactical nuclear weapons expand deterrence, risk
Experts say sanctions relief would get North Korea’s attention to get back to talks as country faces economic decline.North Korea’s nuclear development increased dramatically under leader Kim Jong Un, who took power in 2010 following the death of his father, Kim Jong Il.
North Korea said it will not participate in the Tokyo Olympics because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A website run by the North's sports ministry said the decision was made during a national Olympic Committee meeting on March 25 where members prioritised protecting athletes from the "world public health crisis caused by COVID-19."
South Korea's Unification Ministry on Tuesday expressed regret over the North's decision, saying it had hoped that the Tokyo Olympics would provide an opportunity to improve inter-Korean relations, which have declined amid a stalemate in larger nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang.
Missing the Olympics is a 'minor nuisance' for North Korea, with claims of medal success likely despite absence, expert says
North Korea's non-attendance at the Tokyo Olympics will not stop Kim Jong-un's regime from claiming and celebrating gold medals at home, according to a leading expert on the country, who also says there will be no unified Korean bid for 2032.The regime's athletes could be credited with winning gold medals without even travelling to the Games, says the senior lecturer at the International College of Management and visiting fellow at ANU.
Japanese Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa told reporters she was still confirming details and couldn't immediately comment on the matter. Japan's Olympic Committee said North Korea has not yet notified it that it wouldn't participate in the Tokyo Games.
North Korea sent 22 athletes to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, along with government officials, performance artists, journalists and a 230-member all-female cheering group.
At the Pyeongchang Games, the North and South Korean athletes jointly marched under a blue map symbolising a unified Korean Peninsula, while the red-clad North Korean cheerleaders captivated global attention. The Koreas also fielded their first combined Olympic team in women's ice hockey, which drew passionate support from crowds despite losing all five of its games with a combined score of 28-2.
Tokyo, as you've never seen it before
It's Tokyo, but unlike you've ever seen it before -- a miniaturised 1:1,000 scale version of one of the world's biggest capitals, displaying everything from sea levels to population densities. Pairing a 3-D model with projection mapping, the Urban Lab project at Tokyo's Mori Building aims to display information about the Japanese capital in different and visually arresting ways. "We usually can't grasp the whole picture of the city in a bird's-eye view, but looking at it this way, we can see how attractive Tokyo is as well as its challenges," Shinji Takeda, senior manager at Mori Building, told AFP at the facility.
Those games were also much about politics. The North Korean contingent included the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who conveyed his brother's desire for a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a move which helped it initiate diplomacy with South Korea and the United States.
That diplomacy has stalemated since, and North Korea's decision to sit out the Tokyo Olympics is a setback for hopes to revive it.
While North Korea has steadfastly claimed to be coronavirus-free, outsiders widely doubt whether the country has escaped the pandemic entirely, given its poor health infrastructure and a porous border it shares with China, its economic lifeline.
Describing its anti-virus efforts as a "matter of national existence," North Korea has severely limited cross-border traffic, banned tourists, jetted out diplomats and mobilised health workers with quarantine tens of thousands of people who had shown symptoms.
After humbling Phelps, Schooling seeks another shock at Tokyo Olympics
Singapore's Joseph Schooling famously upset the great Michael Phelps to win Olympic gold but he said "my biggest rival is myself" as he bids to return to form at the Tokyo Games. Schooling, the Southeast Asian city-state's first Olympic champion, said the year's pandemic delay had given him extra time to prepare after a disappointing world championships in 2019. The 25-year-old caused a sensation at Rio 2016, when he beat his idol Phelps -- who has a record 23 Olympic gold medals -- by a fingertip to win the 100m butterfly.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga previously said he expected to invite President Joe Biden to the Olympics and was willing to meet with Kim Jong Un or his powerful sister, Kim Yo Jong, if either attended the Games. Suga, however, did not say if he will invite either of them.
Experts say pandemic border closures have further shocked North Korea's economy, already broken by decades of mismanagement, aggressive military spending and crippling US-led sanctions over its nuclear weapons program.
The economic setbacks have left Kim Jong Un with nothing to show for his ambitious diplomacy with former President Donald Trump, which derailed over disagreements in exchanging the release of sanctions and the North's nuclear disarmament steps.
Kim in recent political speeches has pledged to bolster his nuclear deterrent in face of US-led pressure, and his government has so far rejected the Biden administration's overture for talks, demanding that Washington abandon its "hostile" policies first.
The North ended a yearlong pause in ballistic testing activity last month by firing two short-range missiles off its eastern coast, continuing a tradition of testing new US administrations with weapons demonstrations aimed at measuring Washington's response and wresting concessions.
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by
Katrina Powell named new Hockeyroos coach .
New Hockeyroos coach Katrina Powell will have less than four months to unite a fractured squad for the Tokyo Olympics, but she's up for the challenge.The Hockeyroos have been mired in off-field dramas for years, the issue coming to a head in 2020 when allegations of bullying, body shaming and homophobic behaviour were aired by current and former players.