THE International Olympic Committee said the escalating North Korean crisis has so far raised “no hint” of a security threat for next year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Hours after the United Nations Security Council stepped up sanctions against North Korea, following the country’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3, IOC President Thomas Bach said there was no threat so far to next year’s Games.
North Korea launched its biggest nuclear bomb test earlier this month, leading to global condemnation, with United States President Donald Trump saying “appeasement” would not work.
In response, North Korea warned the US it would pay a “due price” for leading efforts on UN sanctions, which now include a ban on North Korea’s textile exports and a cap on its imports of crude oil.
Bach, speaking to reporters, said: “There is so far not even a hint that there is a threat for the security of the Games in the context of the tensions between North Korea and some other countries.
“We are in contact with governments concerned. In all these conversations with the leading figures in the different governments we can see there is no doubt being raised about the winter Games of 2018.”
Bach, who hopes there is a diplomatic solution before next February’s Games, said the door is open for North Korean athletes to compete in Pyeongchang.
“We are also keeping the door open for the athletes of the DPRK,” Bach said. “The Games are open for all national Olympic committees. This contact continues.”
“We are following the North Korean athletes taking part in qualification events. We offered to the National Olympic committee to support these athletes when needed.’
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in July the North will be given until the last minute to decide whether it will take part in the Olympics, although none of its athletes have yet met the qualification standards.
The Pyeongchang Games will be the first Winter Olympics in Asia to be staged outside Japan and will run from February 9-25. – Reuters.