IOC 'Closely Monitoring' North Korea Crisis, Says PyeongChang Games 'On Track'
The IOC said on Thursday that it was "closely monitoring" rising tensions on the Korean peninsula, less than 200 days before the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics are set to begin, according to Karolos Grohmann of REUTERS. The Games will return to the country next year for the first time since the 1988 Seoul Olympics. But what would be the first Winter Games in Asia outside of 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 regional powers." An IOC spokesperson said, "We are monitoring the situation on the Korean peninsula and the region very closely. 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" (REUTERS, 8/10). The BBC reported South Korea President Moon Jae-in said in July that the North will be "given until the last minute to decide whether it will take part in the Games." He "wants to get North Korea involved," even though none of its athletes have qualified. However, his proposal for collaboration between the North and South teams has "already been turned down by a top North Korean sports official as unrealistic in the current political climate" (BBC, 8/10).