North Korea given Olympic ban after defiant stance over Tokyo 2020 Games

North Korea has been banned from taking part in next year's Winter Olympics after the state snubbed the chance to send athletes to the Tokyo Games this summer.

It was the first time the country has missed an Olympics since 1988, as it cited Covid concerns for its decision to not take part.

North Korea was the only country to pull out, after war-torn African state Guinea reversed its original decision to not send athletes to Japan.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said the country's government was given fair and clear warnings that a failure to show up would be violating the Olympic Charter and would lead to consequences.

It added the offer of vaccines for North Korean athletes and reassurances that strict measures would be in place to prevent the spread of the virus were "systematically rejected by the PRK NOC".

A statement from the organisers said: "Throughout the process, the PRK NOC was given a fair opportunity to be heard, and received very clear warnings about the consequences of its position and the fact that any violation of the Olympic Charter would ultimately expose the PRK NOC to the measures and sanctions provided in the Olympic Charter."

Do you think North Korea should be banned from the Winter Olympics? Let us know in the comments section.

IOC president Thomas Bach has now confirmed North Korea has been banned from the Olympic movement until the end of 2022, meaning it will not be able to take part in the Beijing Winter Games in February.

Some athletes from the country may be able to take part, though they will not be allowed to do so under their country's flag – similar to how Russian athletes were not able to represent their country in Tokyo after its ban over a doping scandal.

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It's a major step back in relations between the IOC and North Korea, which hit an all-time high in 2018 when the country joined forces with South Korea at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

The two countries marched together at the opening ceremony, formed a joint ice hockey team and Kim Yo-jong, the sister of ruler Kim Jong-un, shook hands with South Korea president Moon Jae-in on the occasion of a first visit to the south by a member of the Kim family since the Korean War.

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