With the 19th Hangzhou Asian Games just two days away, North Korea, which is making its return to international sports after a five-year hiatus, will finally make its first official appearance.
The Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee announced to MyInfo, a news and information site, that North Korea will hold an official induction ceremony at the athletes’ village at 10 a.m. KST on Feb. 22.
North Korea will participate in the ceremony along with Brunei, Cambodia, Palestine, Taiwan and Thailand.
North Korea was punished by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for unilaterally boycotting the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2021, saying it wanted to prevent the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) from entering the country.
It is a violation of the Olympic Charter to boycott the Games except for force majeure reasons such as war.
The IOC suspended North Korea’s status as a National Olympic Committee (NOC) until the end of 2022, banning it from competing in international competitions.
The suspension was automatically lifted at the dawn of the new year in 2023, marking North Korea’s return to the international stage after a five-year absence following the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games.
North Korea sent 185 athletes to the Hangzhou Asian Games in 18 sports.
The North Korean athletes did not travel as a group, but instead scattered in small groups and entered Hangzhou after crossing the Chinese border.
North Korean officials seemed unperturbed by the attention, smiling slightly when a Yonhap reporter greeted them with a “hello” at the athletes’ village on Nov. 21 and asking, “What are you taking so many (photos) for, what are you going to use them for?”
A delegation from the North Korean Olympic Committee, headed by Sports Minister Kim Il Sung, is scheduled to depart Pyongyang on Sept. 19 to participate in the Asian Games, marking another step in the revival of sports diplomacy. 파워볼사이트