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North Korea dashes hopes for diplomatic gold at Tokyo Olympics

Seeing little political payoff, Pyongyang bows out of Tokyo games

North and South Korean athletes walk together under a Korean Peninsula flag at the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February 2018. (Photo by Koji Uema)

TOKYO -- North Korea has decided not to participate in the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games starting in July, scuttling any hope that the occasion will lead to a diplomatic breakthrough with the rogue state, as the Pyeongchang games did three years ago.

The sports ministry on its website gave a terse statement on withdrawing from the games: to protect its own athletes from the global public health crisis that is the coronavirus.

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