North Korea has pulled out of the final-round women’s football qualifying tournament for the 2020 Olympics, due to take place in South Korea next month.
The withdrawal was confirmed by the Asian Football Confederation, although neither the confederation nor North Korea gave a reason for it.
Channel News Asia reports that there was a flurry of sports diplomacy between North and South Korea last year, including a mooted plan for a joint bid to host the 2032 Summer Olympics, but relations have since cooled.
CNA reported that the AFC said in a statement: “The AFC can confirm that DPR Korea Football Association sent an official letter to withdraw from the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament 2020 Asian Qualifiers Final Round.”
The tournament will take place from February 3 to 9, with games in South Korea and China. North Korea had been drawn in Group A alongside South Korea, Vietnam and Myanmar. Group B consists of Australia, China, Taiwan and Thailand.