North Korea will not attend 2022 Winter Olympics

North Korea announced it would not attend the 2022 Winter Olympics, blaming both the pandemic and "hostile forces" for the decision, specifically calling out the U.S. for raising tensions at the Games.

According to state-run media reports reviewed by Reuters, the country announced the news via a letter from North Korea's Olympic Committee and Sports Ministry to China, which is hosting the Winter Olympics next month.

"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 read.

North Korea's athletes were already forbidden from competing in the 2022 Winter Olympics after North Korea was suspended from the International Olympic Committee for refusing to attend last year's games in Japan because of COVID-19.

The U.S. has announced a diplomatic boycott of the gams, meaning it will not send administration officials but will send athletes. Other countries, including the United Kingdom, have joined the U.S. in that effort, which is meant to protest human rights abuses by Beijing.

North Korea, a longtime Chinese ally, also appeared to blame the U.S. for its decision not to attend.

In the letter to China, North Korea accused the U.S. of trying to prevent the games from succeeding, according to Reuters. Officials said the U.S. was "attempting to disgrace the international image of China."

"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 letter read.

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