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Tokyo 2020: North Korea pulls out of women's qualifiers in South Korea

Bengaluru, December 31: With Tokyo 2020 Olympics less than seven months away, there still seems to be no sign of thaw in the frostly diplomatic relationships between the two Koreas after North Korea pulled out its women's football team from the final round of Tokyo Games qualifiers to be held in South Korea in February.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) confirmed that North Korea had sent a letter informing it of its withdrawal from the tournament and that global governing body -- FIFA -- was also aware of the decision.

The two Koreas remain technically at war after the Korean War ended in a truce and not a peace treaty, and while there was a flurry of sports diplomacy between the neighbours last year ties have again cooled over stalled negotiations over the North's nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

"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," an AFC statement said.

The third round of group stage matches for the qualifying tournament will be held from February 3 to 9 in South Korea and China.

North Korea were drawn in Group A alongside hosts South Korea, Vietnam and Myanmar.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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Story first published: Tuesday, December 31, 2019, 11:27 [IST]
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