IOC 'regrets' UN decision not to lift North Korean sporting goods sanctions
The International Olympic Committee has said that it “regrets” a decision of the United Nations’ sanctions committee not to grant an IOC request for an exemption to trade sanctions imposed on North Korea that would enable sports equipment to be exported to the country to help North Korean athletes train, prepare and qualify for Olympic Games.
The IOC said in a statement: “The IOC has noted with regret that the United Nations Security Council Sanctions Committee has not granted an exemption on sporting goods for North Korean athletes.
“This makes it more difficult for the IOC to accomplish its mission to bring athletes from all over the world together to promote understanding and friendship regardless of political background or any other differences.”
The IOC added that it is “all the more disappointing because the exemption asked for the easing of restrictions on sporting equipment only for a very limited number of athletes.”
The consensus required to approve the request was stymied when USA objected, with one US official telling Reuters: “We remain upbeat about the prospects of denuclearisation of North Korea, but it will take full enforcement of sanctions to get us there.”
Intervention by the IOC was credited for a historic decision by the teams of North and South Korea to march together at the ceremonies at this year’s PyeongChang winter Olympic Games, and a combined team competed in the women’s ice hockey competition.
The move was regarded as the start of a major softening in the often hostile relations between the two Koreas.
Then in June, the IOC brokered further high-level talks between officials from North and South Korea, as well as from Japan and China, hosts of the next two editions of the Olympic Games (in Tokyo and Beijing), as it sought to continue the breakthrough made in peace talks between the two Koreas through the games in PyeongChang.
In April, North Korea committed to sending a team to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Beijing 2022 winter Olympics, and also to send teams to this summer’s Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires and the winter Youth Olympics in Lausanne in 2020.