Updated: January 7, 2022 7:50:41 am
North Korea blamed “hostile forces” and the worldwide pandemic for not being able to attend the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing and accused the United States and its allies of trying to prevent the Games’ success, state media said on Friday.
North Korea’s Olympic Committee and Ministry of Physical Culture and Sports sent a letter to counterparts in China, including the Beijing Olympics organising committee, expressing their support for the Games despite their absence, KCNA news agency reported.
North Korea was suspended from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) until the end of 2022, meaning it will miss out on the Beijing Winter Games, after failing to send a team to the Tokyo Olympics last year, citing COVID-19 concerns.
“We could not take part in the Olympics due to the hostile forces’ moves and the worldwide pandemic, but we would fully support the Chinese comrades in all their work to hold splendid and wonderful Olympic festival,” the letter said, according to KCNA.
The letter criticised moves by the United States and its allies as “an insult to the spirit of the international Olympic Charter and as a base act of attempting to disgrace the international image of China.
“In December, the White House announced U.S. government officials will boycott Winter Olympics because of China’s human rights “atrocities”, while leaving U.S. athletes free to travel to Beijing to compete.
Several other countries, including Britain, Australia, and Canada have also since announced diplomatic boycotts. “The U.S. and its vassal forces are getting evermore undisguised in their moves against China aimed at preventing the successful opening of the Olympics,” the North Korean letter said.
North Korea said preparations for the Games were being successfully made “under the correct leadership of General Secretary Xi Jinping despite the worldwide health crisis.” (Reporting by Josh Smith Editing by Alistair Bell)
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