In a U-turn, the Geneva-based WEF announced yesterday that North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong's invitation to the Jan. 20-23 meeting had been revoked after Pyongyang carried out a fourth nuclear test in defiance of a United Nations ban.

In a letter to the organiser from its UN ambassador in Geneva, seen by Reuters, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea said it had hoped to have the opportunity to demonstrate its economic performance and promote economic cooperation.

It would have been the first time in 18 years that a North Korean delegation attended the event, a gathering place for elite from the worlds of politics, business and entertainment.

"Unfortunately, however, the WEF side has unilaterally cancelled the participation of the DPRK delegation based on unjust political motivation which clearly runs counter to the nature and position of WEF as an international forum for discussion of economic issues," said the letter.

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