North Korea barred from participating in Beijing Winter Olympics
- The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has suspended North Korea from the Winter Games in Beijing for not participating in the Tokyo Games.
- The country pulled out of the Tokyo Games citing coronavirus concerns.
- North Korea will be suspended until the end of 2022 and will no longer receive funding from the IOC.
North Korea was formally suspended from the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics by the IOC on Wednesday as punishment for refusing to send a team to the Tokyo Games citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
IOC president Thomas Bach said the North Korean national Olympic body will also now forfeit money it was due from previous Olympics. The unspecified amount ― potentially millions of dollars ― had been withheld because of international sanctions.
Individual athletes from North Korea who qualify to compete in Beijing could still be accepted by a separate decision in the future, Bach said.
North Korea’s suspension lasts through 2022, but could potentially be extended, Bach said.
Ten North Korean competitors were sent to the 2018 Winter Games and none participated in 2014 at Sochi, Russia.
In 2010, North Korea sent two athletes to Vancouver.
North Korea has not publicly commented on the suspension.
To date, North Korea has been able to prevent a major outbreak of Covid-19 thanks to a series of draconian public health measures. North Korea has severed almost all of its ties with the outside world in 2020 to prevent an influx of coronavirus cases. Foreign diplomats and aid workers have also fled the country en masse, citing shortages of goods and extreme restrictions on daily life.