SEOUL • The World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) said North Korea's testing programme 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 on Wednesday that the deadline to correct "non-conformities" had passed without reply from the reclusive regime.
"The World Anti-Doping Agency 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 programme, 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".
However, at a meeting in Lausanne between South and North officials yesterday, the two nations also expressed their interest for a joint march at next year's Tokyo Olympic Games, as well as fielding some unified teams in different sports.
South and North Korea were buoyed by the role the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics played in easing tensions - they had marched together at the opening ceremony for the first time since the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.
In recent months, the two Koreas have also turned to sports diplomacy to ease tensions.
In Pyeongchang 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 United States President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS