IOC confident over Games as France plays down concerns

IOC confident over Games as France plays down concerns”

The multi-billion dollar Pyeongchang Olympics will be held just 50 miles from the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, the world's most heavily armed border.

During Monday's meeting, vice sports minister Roh Tae-kang thanked members for supporting his country's bid for the consecutive appointment and vowed to create an environment for fair competition through "watertight" doping tests during the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games. "Instead, we are taking a more measured approach by monitoring the situation, engaging with our security counterparts at the State Department and the PyeongChang Organizing Committee, and reviewing communication, accountability and crisis management plans that address a range of potential scenarios to ensure that our athletes, and our entire delegation, are safe".

Tensions in the region have escalated since North Korea conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test on September 3, prompting global condemnation.

According to AFP news agency, during a media interview Thursday, France's Minister of Sports Laura Flessel said that "if security can not be assured, the French Olympics team will stay at home".

Earlier this month, the International Olympic Committee awarded Los Angeles the 2028 Games, which will mark the first time the Summer Olympics have been held in the USA since 1996.

French Sports Minister Laura Flessel and Austrian Olympic Committee chief Karl Stoss were recently quoted as saying their nations would boycott PyeongChang 2018 if the safety of their athletes can't be guaranteed.

North and South Korea remain technically at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended with a truce and not a peace treaty. US officials denied President Trump was seeking war when he tweeted North Korea "won't be around much longer" if the foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, reiterated the message of North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-Un.

"We will continue to prepare in the same way as with other worldwide competitions that we take part in", a spokeswoman for the committee said.

Blackmun praised the 1968 Olympic protest by American track and field athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who gave a black power salute from the podium in Mexico City, sparking controversy.

Gus Kenworthy, an Olympic freestyle skiing silver medalist who revealed to the public two years ago that he is gay, said he supported the National Football League players who were protesting. We are getting the same briefings other Americans are getting who are traveling to South Korea.

South Korea's term in the vice presidency expires when the seventh session opens.

The envoy said the French sports minister announced that France will attend the PyeongChang Olympics.

Australia, one of Asia's largest participants at recent Winter Games, is monitoring the situation.

Blackmun said the USOC board will meet next month to discuss the possibility.

Waiving participation of the Swiss team "is at the moment not under discussion", one of its Olympic committee officials told Reuters.

He conceded, however, that ticket sales among overseas visitors could be affected.

The USOC, Blackmun said, is working with the State Department to devise the safest plan for U.S. Olympians.

The IOC has said it is not contemplating any "Plan B" for the Games.

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