North Korea pulls out of Tokyo Olympics


North Korean officials along with the president of South Korea observe the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics. The Tokyo Olympics are fast approaching, and North Korea has decided to withdraw (Photo courtesy AP News).

Hannah Smith, Copy Editor

“North Korea, citing the coronavirus, has become the world’s first country to drop out of the Tokyo Olympics,” reported Hyung-Jin Kim for the AP. 

While many believe that this is the actual reason, given the country’s dilapidated health-care system and strict response to COVID-19, there are some who think this is Peongyang’s way of sending the message that they want to deal directly with the U.S..

In the past, both North and South Korea have used the Olympics as an opening to reignite unification talks, going so far as to march under one banner in the opening ceremony of the last Olympics. They have also used it to reopen talks with the U.S. about nuclear programs and sanction relief, something North Korea desperately needs right now. However, many experts claim that North Korea doesn’t know if there will be value in the Olympics this year since the Biden administration has made it clear that they won’t participate in any superficial talks with Pyongyang. Finally, analysts feel that North Korea won’t have any option but to deal with the U.S. soon, maybe even before the Olympics, given the poor state of their economy as a result of natural disasters and U.S.-led sanctions.

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