N.Korea says won't attend Beijing Olympics, blames COVID-19 and 'hostile forces'

N.Korea says won
# 07 January 2022 06:33 (UTC +04:00)

In a letter to China, North Korea blamed "hostile forces" and COVID-19 risks for not being able to attend the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing and accused the United States of trying to prevent the Games' success, state media said on Friday, APA reports quoting Reuters.

It was unclear whether the letter from North Korea's Olympic Committee and Sports Ministry was referring only to its athletes - who are not eligible to compete after North Korea was suspended from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) until the end of 2022 after failing to send a team to the Tokyo Olympics last year, citing COVID-19 concerns.

A summary of the letter by state news agency KCNA made no mention of a diplomatic delegation, and the country has maintained a strict self-imposed border lockdown that has blocked even its own diplomats from entering and choked off nearly all trade.

The letter criticised unspecified moves by the United States, which in December announced its government officials will boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics because of China's human rights record, while leaving U.S. athletes free to travel to Beijing to compete.