North Korea will not participate in the Tokyo Summer Olympics this July due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Sports in the North Korea on Tuesday, a website on sports affairs in the country.
The decision was made at a general assembly meeting of the North Korea Olympic Committee held in Pyongyang on March 25, the website news said.
"The Democratic People's Republic of Korea has decided not to participate in the 32nd Olympic Games during the general assembly to protect our athletes from the global health crisis situation related to the coronavirus as proposed by committee members," it added.
The Korean Central News Agency reported on March 26 that a session of the North Korea Olympic Committee was held in Pyongyang a day earlier.
The session, held via video conferencing, reviewed the work of the committee in 2020 and discussed the orientation of its work for 2021. However, it did not announce any statement on whether to attend the Olympic Games.
North Korea said it has successfully grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, with no coronavirus cases confirmed since the beginning of the pandemic early last year, but it has taken aggressive measures to contain the virus, including shutting its borders.
The announcement makes North Korea the first major country in the world to skip the coronavirus-delayed Tokyo Games because of the pandemic.
The Summer Olympics is due to begin on July 23 and runs until August 8.