French Olympic Committee allays Korea Games fears

"So our intent is always to be a good partner to both the United States Olympic Committee and those American athletes".

The multi-billion dollar Pyeongchang Olympics will be held just 80 km (50 miles) from the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, the world's most heavily armed border.

"We are monitoring the situation on the Korean peninsula and the region very closely." an International Olympic Committee spokesman said.

North Korea, which conducted a sixth nuclear test on September 3 to global condemnation, said on Friday it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to destroy the reclusive country. "So there's lots of issues, but our approach has been we'll take an open mind and listen and let that process develop and when it's time to engage and look deeply, great, but certainly we'd love the Olympic Games to come back to the United States, whether its 2026 or 2030".

The USOC's reaction to mounting tensions on the Korean peninsula contrasts with a comment from the French sports minister last week that the country would not send a team to the 2018 Games if security could not be guaranteed.

"Security and safety are the critical aspects of the success of the Games". In a meeting with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, Moon said South Korea is well aware of the concerns.

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"I know that POCOG will ensure to provide a safe Games for the entire Olympic Family".

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

Seoul's Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Roh Tae-gang asked about the veracity of the report when he met with the French minister in Paris on Friday, and officially confirmed that France remains unchanged in its decision to participate in the PyeongChang Olympics and the Paralympics.

"We are relying on advice from DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) and working with the Korean Ambassador and if their advice changes, we will advise our team accordingly but for the moment there is no suggestion that the Games will not go ahead or their safety is compromised".

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

"In none of the discussions, has anybody expressed any doubt about the Olympic Games 2018", the spokesman said, adding that preparations for the Games remained on track.

  • Rita Burton