North Korea Withdraws From the Tokyo Olympics
The organizers of the Tokyo Olympics recently said fans from outside of Japan will not be able to attend the Games because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, North Korea, a country that was expected to send athletes to the Olympics, announced it will not take part in the Games.
North Korea said its National Olympic Committee had a meeting in late March and decided not to attend in order to keep its athletes from getting sick.
However, a number of international policy experts think the decision is a way to keep the country closed. North Korea said it has controlled the spread of COVID-19 by closing its borders, banning foreign visitors and sending diplomats home. But those who follow North Korea think that may not be true. The country already has a weak medical system because of international economic restrictions that have limited spending on infrastructure.
Experts say the closed border is making life in North Korea more difficult than necessary for the average person.
Jean H. Lee directs the North Korean program for The Wilson Center, an international policy research center in Washington, D.C.
In a tweet, she asked if any other country has announced it would not attend the Olympics. She called the move "a political decision...as much as it is a public health concern."
A spokesperson for the South Korean foreign ministry said there is still time for North Korea to reconsider its decision.
Many people thought the 2018 winter Olympics in South Korea was a chance to renew diplomacy with North Korea. The closed-off nation sent 22 athletes, government officials, performers and a 230-member cheering group. Athletes from both North and South Korea marched under a flag with a blue map that symbolized a united Korean land.
The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un also attended the Games.
Experts say North Korea's presence at the 2018 Games helped start discussions between former U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim. The talks, however, have not restarted for more than one year.
In addition, North Korea recently fired test missiles for the first time in one year.
The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics were delayed because of the coronavirus health crisis. The Games are scheduled to open on July 23.
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不过，多名国际政策专家认为，这一决定是保持该国封闭的一种方式 。朝鲜表示，其通过关闭边境、禁止外国游客入境以及将外交官送回国等方式控制新冠肺炎的扩散 。但关注朝鲜的人士认为这可能并非事实 。由于国际经济制裁限制了朝鲜在基础设施方面的支出，该国的医疗体系已非常薄弱 。
Jean H. Lee是威尔逊中心朝鲜项目的负责人，威尔逊中心是华盛顿特区的一家国际政策研究中心 。
她在推特上询问是否有其他国家宣布不参加奥运会 。她称此举既是“政治决定，同时也是出于公共卫生担忧 。”
许多人认为，2018年韩国冬奥会是重启与朝鲜外交的机会 。这个封闭国家派出了22名运动员、政府官员、表演者以及由230人组成的啦啦队 。来自朝鲜和韩国的运动员使用象征朝鲜半岛统一的蓝色半岛旗帜携手入场 。
专家表示，朝鲜出席2018年冬奥会帮助启动了美国前总统唐纳德·特朗普和金正恩之间的会谈 。然而，这些谈判已停滞一年多的时间 。
由于冠状病毒卫生危机，2020年东京夏季奥运会延迟举行 。本届奥运会定于7月23日开幕 。