WADA has declared North Korea non-compliant ©Getty Images

North Korea has been declared non-compliant by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for failing to address issues with its drugs-testing programme.

In a statement, WADA confirmed the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's Anti-Doping Committee (DPRK ADC) had not met a four-month deadline to "correct non-conformities", which triggered automatic non-compliance.

The announcement comes prior to the latest tripartite meeting between officials from North Korea, South Korea and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne tomorrow.

The IOC has informed WADA the issue will be discussed during the meeting.

The talks will focus on future cooperation between the two countries, still technically at war, including fielding combined teams at Tokyo 2020 and the possible joint bid for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The potential exclusion of athletes from the Olympic Games and barring North Korea from hosting any major international events were among the sanctions available to WADA due to the declaration of non-compliance.

But the Compliance Review Committee recommended neither consequence was appropriate or proportionate in this case.

Instead, a series of conditions and other sanctions have been placed on the DPRK ADC.

Some or all of the North Korean body's drugs-testing operation will be supervised by an "approved third party", while representatives from the DPRK ADC have been barred from holding any position within a signatory of the code - including International Federations and other sports bodies - for a period of one year or until the organisation is reinstated.

The declaration of non-compliance comes prior to the latest set of talks between officials from North Korea, South Korea and the IOC ©Getty Images
The declaration of non-compliance comes prior to the latest set of talks between officials from North Korea, South Korea and the IOC ©Getty Images

Officials from the DRPK ADC are also ineligible to participate in any WADA activities, such as its independent observer and outreach programmes, and the country cannot host any event organised by WADA and are unable to hold any role connected to the global organisation.

"Throughout this process, WADA will continue to provide guidance and support to the DPRK Anti-Doping Committee to solve its non-conformities," WADA said in a statement.

The deadline set by WADA for North Korea to address the concerns expired in January and the global anti-doping watchdog said the DPRK ADC did not dispute the assertion of non-compliance.

The exact reasoning behind declaring the DPRK ADC non-compliant has not been revealed.

The announcement nevertheless represents an embarrassing development for North Korea amid the continued effort to use sport as a vehicle for peace on the Korean peninsula.

The talks with the IOC tomorrow represent the latest show of sporting diplomacy between North and South Korea.

Athletes from the two countries marched together at the Opening Ceremony of last year's Winter Olympic Games and also competed side-by-side in a joint women's ice hockey team.

North and South Korea also fielded combined teams in dragon boat racing, women's basketball and lightweight rowing at last year's Asian Games in Jakarta and competed on a joint squad at the Handball World Championship last month.