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North Korea airs Olympics coverage days after it ends

By Yvette Tan

BBC News

image sourceGetty Images

image captionThe Tokyo Olympic Games ended earlier last week

North Korean state television has aired its first coverage of the Tokyo Olympic Games – two days after the closing ceremony.

According to local news reports, Korean Central Television aired 70 minutes of a women’s football match between the UK and Chile this week.

The match was actually played weeks earlier on 21 July.

North Korea has previously aired the Olympic Games a few days after its opening ceremony, according to Yonhap.

According to specialist site NK News, the women’s match was aired without commentary and in low resolution – leaving it unclear how the footage was obtained.

In past years, the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union has offered Pyongyang footage of the games through a partnership with South Korean broadcaster SBS, according to US tech blog North Korea Tech.

It is not clear where they got this year’s footage from.

North Korea did not send a delegation to the Tokyo 2020 Games, saying it wanted to protect its athletes from Covid-19.

Pyongyang says it has no cases of the virus but experts say this is unlikely.

The decision not to participate put an end to South Korea’s hopes of using the Games to engage with the North.

In 2018, North and South Korea entered a joint team at the Winter Olympics which led to a series of historic summits.

North Korea had sent 22 athletes to the Winter Olympics in South Korea – along with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong – a move which helped initiate diplomacy with South Korea and the US.

This year marks the first time North Korea has missed a Summer Olympics since 1988, when it boycotted the Seoul Games during the Cold War.

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