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SBD Global/May 15, 2017/Olympics

IOC Monitoring Tensions On Korean Peninsula; No Plans To Move 2018 Games

The IOC is "closely monitoring tensions" on the Korean Peninsula but it has "no contingency plans to move next year's Winter Games" from PyeongChang, according to Steve Keating of REUTERS. IOC Olympic Games Exec Dir Christophe Dubi said, "In a context like this one it is to follow the situation, it's evolution on a day-to-day basis and this is certainly what we are doing. At the same time we have one plan and that is February in PyeongChang. That's what we have in mind. Nevertheless we are following the situation" (REUTERS, 5/13).

POLITICAL MEDDLING: The KOREA TIMES' Kang Hyun-kyung reported following the inauguration of South Korea President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday, the fate of the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) and the "continuity of its leadership has come to the fore -- will current President Lee Hee-beom keep his post?" Once a new president takes office, Cabinet members are replaced and key posts are filled "with figures in sync with the political orientation of the leader." POCOG spokesperson Sung Baik-you said, "I'm not in a position to comment on the leadership reshuffle, because it's a decision to be made by the president, not by someone inside the organizing committee. Mr. Lee served as minister of industry and energy under the Roh Moo-hyun government when President Moon was serving as presidential chief of staff." Sung said that the presidential election held seven months earlier than initially scheduled in December because of the "unprecedented removal" of former President Park Geun-hye from the presidency has "ironically helped POCOG staff better prepare for the Olympics." The PyeongChang Winter Olympics are slated for Feb. 9-25, 2018, and will be followed by the Paralympics to be held from March 9-18. Korean presidents officially take office on Feb. 25, "but not this time." The PyeongChang Olympics will be the first int'l sports event to be held in Korea "during the Moon Jae-in government." Depending on its success, "history shows such a crucial international sporting event can provide a rare opportunity for political leaders to prove themselves as effective leaders at home, as well as abroad" (KOREA TIMES, 5/12). 
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