The Games return to the country next year for
the first time since the 1988 summer Olympics in Seoul. But what
would be the first winter Games in Asia outside Japan and the
first of three consecutive Olympics on the continent risk being
overshadowed by the mounting crisis involving North Korea.
The reclusive North's apparent progress in developing nuclear
weapons and missiles capable of hitting the U.S. mainland led to
a war of words this week between the two countries, unnerving
President Donald Trump said the United States would respond with
"fire and fury" if North Korea threatened it. North Korea
dismissed the warnings and outlined detailed plans for a missile
strike near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.
Experts in South Korea said the plans for an attack around Guam
ratcheted up risks significantly, since Washington was likely to
view any missile aimed at its territory as a provocation, even
if it were launched as a test.
"We are monitoring the situation on the Korean peninsula and the
region very closely," an IOC spokesperson said. "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."
South Korea had failed twice to land the winter Olympics of 2010
and 2014 but succeeded in getting the nod in 2011 for the 2018
edition, which is scheduled for Feb. 9-25.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said last month the North
will be given until the last minute to decide whether it will
take part in the Olympics. He wants to get North Korea involved,
even though none of its athletes have met the qualification
His proposal for a unified team has already been turned down by
a top North Korean sports official as unrealistic in the current
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Larry King)
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