North Korea's sports ministry says 'no' to Tokyo Olympics

The Japan Times 

Seoul – North Korea will not attend this year's Tokyo Olympics because of the coronavirus pandemic, Pyongyang's sports ministry said, putting an end to Seoul's hopes of using the games to restart talks with its nuclear-armed neighbor. North Korea's participation in the last Winter Games, in Pyeongchang in neighboring South Korea, was a key catalyst in the diplomatic rapprochement of 2018. Leader Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, attended as his envoy in a blaze of publicity, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in seized the opportunity to broker talks between Pyongyang and Washington that led to a series of high-profile meetings between Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump. But Pyongyang's announcement puts an end to Seoul's hopes of using the postponed Tokyo Games, due to begin in July, to trigger a reset in the now deadlocked talks process. At a meeting, North Korea's Olympic Committee "decided not to participate in the 32nd Olympic Games in order to protect players from the world public health crisis caused by COVID-19," said the Sports in the DPR Korea website run by North Korea's sports ministry.