SEOUL – The World Anti-Doping Agency said North Korea’s testing program has failed to comply with its code, threatening to derail a joint Korean bid for the 2032 summer Olympics.
WADA gave Pyongyang four months to address doping concerns raised in a review in September, but the agency announced late Wednesday that the deadline to correct “non-conformities” had passed without reply from the reclusive regime.
“The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announces that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Anti-Doping Committee… is, effective today, non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code,” the Montreal-based agency said, using North Korea’s official name.
The concerns related to the implementation of its testing program, it added.
WADA’s decision casts a shadow on Seoul’s ambitious bid to jointly host the 2032 Olympics with a North Korean city, likely its capital Pyongyang.
Any country submitting a bid is required to be in compliance with WADA’s code.
North Korean athletes could also be excluded from competing in the Olympics or other international competitions under WADA rules requiring them to conform with the code “as a condition of such participation.”
WADA said the issue will be discussed at an International Olympic Committee meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Friday, where sports officials from the two Koreas were expected to inform the committee of their decision to bid.
South Korea chose Seoul as its candidate city on Monday, with mayor Park Won-soon saying co-hosting the Olympics would be “the last stop to establish the peace.”
Pyongyang boycotted the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.
In recent months the two Koreas have turned to sports diplomacy to ease tensions.
During the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics last year, North Korea sent leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, to express the regime’s interest in an inter-Korean summit.
That paved the way for a whirl of diplomacy including three inter-Korean summits in six months and a landmark June 12 Singapore meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
A Seoul government official said it was verifying the reports and declined to immediately comment.