United States’ Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has backtracked on her comments that it remains an “open question” if athletes from the country will compete at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games by insisting a full delegation will attend the event.
Haley caused concern when she raised doubts on the extent of American participation at the Games in Pyeongchang.
It comes as tension continues to rise between North Korea – located just 50 miles north of Pyeongchang – and the US.
In response to Haley’s quotes, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) reiterated their stance that they would be sending a full team to Pyeongchang 2018.
The White House and State Department have both expressed unqualified support for sending the full Olympics team and delegation.
The ambassador appears to have performed a u-turn on her original stance, telling Fox News Sunday that the “full US Olympic team” would compete at the Games.
“We’re doing in this Olympics what we’ve done in every single Olympics,” Haley said.
“If you look back, we have always talked about security in the Olympics.
“We’ve always talked about keeping our athletes safe.
“We’re at the location and we’re starting to secure the process.
“But we always look out for the best interests of the United States’ citizens.
“But, yes, there will be a delegation that goes and we will do everything we can to make sure they’re safe.”
Representatives from other nations due to participate in Pyeongchang, notably France and Germany, have also raised security fears.
Concern in South Korea is far lower as similar rhetoric has been common ever since the Korean War ended with a ceasefire rather than a peace treaty in 1953.
The International Olympic Committee claim to be “closely monitoring” the situation but that it is currently safe for competition.
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry claimed last week that the outbreak of war on the Korean Peninsular is an “established fact” and seemingly a matter of when rather than if.
The US flew a supersonic bomber over South Korea as part of a week-long set of military exercises intended to send a strong warning to North Korea – which has in turn carried out intercontinental ballistic missile tests.
A set of joint military exercises between the US and South Korea are scheduled to take part during March next year, despite it coming within the “Olympic Truce” window which is supposed to exist for the entire period of the Olympics and Paralympics.
Haley has also told the UN Security Council that “continued acts of aggression” from North Korea could lead to war, and that “if war comes, make no mistake – the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed”.
By Liam Morgan
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.