North Korea loses world judo event because of security risk

April 26, 2017
This image made from video of a still image broadcast in a news bulletin by North Korea's KRT on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, shows leader Kim Jong Un at what was said to be a "Combined Fire Demonstration" held to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the North Korean army, in Wonsan, North Korea. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this photo. (KRT via AP Video)

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — North Korea will no longer host the judo world junior championships because of security risks amid rising political tension with South Korea and the United States.

“At present, this situation is alarming, and the outcomes are difficult to predict,” the International Judo Federation said Wednesday after talks with North Korea’s sports ministry.

Some national teams had refused to go to North Korea and others expressed concern about sending children there, the judo world body said.

The federation awarded the Oct. 18-22 championships to Pyongyang with conditions including that there was “a stable international situation.” The championships will instead be held in Zagreb, Croatia.

North Korea has increased missile tests in recent weeks, and American naval forces are preparing for joint training operations with South Korea.

“A number of countries, national federations and individuals concerned, communicated with the IJF via formal or informal channels that they are worried about this event,” the governing body said. “Some of them declined participation, others expressed concern regarding the participation of their children at this event.”

Other issues cited were international flights to North Korea being canceled plus “safety and security of participants and their belongings, communications with the outside world, possibility of live streaming.”

The federation said it hoped to bring a future event to North Korea when the political situation was stable.

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