SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea says it will not participate in the Tokyo Olympics because of the coronavirus pandemic. A website run by the North’s sports ministry said the decision was made during a national Olympic Committee meeting on March 25 where members prioritized protecting athletes from the “world public health crisis caused by COVID-19.”While North Korea has steadfastly claimed to be coronavirus-free, outsiders widely doubt whether the country has escaped the pandemic entirely. North Korea sent 22 athletes to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, which helped it initiate diplomacy with Seoul and the United States. That diplomacy has stalemated since, and North Korea’s decision to sit out the Tokyo Olympics is a setback for hopes to revive it.
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