Sun, Aug 13, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Olympic committee to discuss N Korea as Games approach

AP, LONDON

Tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program have prompted security challenges posed to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea next year to be part of the assessment at an upcoming International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting.

The meeting comes five months before the Winter Games are to be staged 80km across the border from North Korea.

Although regional concerns have been building for months amid new missile tests by Pyongyang, the pace has intensified since new sanctions were passed against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s regime by the UN Security Council last week.

That led to heated rhetoric between the US and North Korea.

“We are monitoring the situation on the Korean Peninsula and the region very closely,” the IOC said on Friday in Lausanne, Switzerland. “The IOC is keeping itself informed about the developments. We continue working with the organizing committee on the preparations of these Games, which continue to be on track.”

France Olympic Committee president Denis Masseglia said the North Korea situation would be discussed at the IOC session in Lima next month.

“There is no reason to be too worried at the moment,” Masseglia said. “We are five or six months away from the Olympics. We are monitoring the situation carefully. Of course if the tension escalates, we’ll need to adapt, but Pyeongchang is ready to host the Games.”

Pyeongchang is presenting the IOC with the third successive problematic build-up to an Olympics after Sochi, Russia, in 2014 and Rio de Janeiro last year were beset by human rights, environmental and political crises.

“Each host city presents a unique challenge from a security perspective and as is always the case, we are working with the organizers, the US State Department and the relevant law enforcement agencies to ensure that our athletes and our entire delegation, are safe,” US Olympic Committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky said.

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