After Questioning Security at South Korean Olympics, Officials Say U.S. Looks Forward to Participating

Concerns about what could happen at the Winter Games in February have spiked in recent weeks as President Trump along with Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, have engaged in a war of words about Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.

Tensions have been heating up on the Korean Peninsula after a two-month lull, with North Korea launching a missile last week which experts said showed the capability of hitting much of the continental United States.

Then, on Monday, the United States began military drills with South Korea which were to include simulated strikes on the North’s nuclear along with missile sites, leading Pyongyang to accuse Washington of pushing the peninsula “to the brink of nuclear war.”

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In September, Mr. Kim accused Mr. Trump of exhibiting “mentally deranged behavior.” His comments triggered a quick response via the American president, who said which Mr. Kim is actually “obviously a madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people.”

Two months later, the two traded insults again, with Mr. Trump tweeting: “Why could Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I could NEVER call him ‘short along with fat?’ Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend — along with maybe someday which will happen!”

After North Korea launched its missile last week, Mr. Trump called Mr. Kim a “sick puppy.”

Addressing the strained relations along with their impact on the Olympics, Ms. Haley said on Wednesday which the Trump administration could try to “find out the best way” to protect American athletes participating from the Games.

“I think those are conversations which we are going to have to have, nevertheless what have we always said? We don’t ever fear anything, we live our lives,” Ms. Haley said. “What we will do is actually make sure which we’re taking every precaution possible to make sure which they’re safe along with to know everything which’s going on around them.”

Asked on Fox News if athletes via the United States could be able to compete, Ms. Haley said: “There’s an open question. I have not heard anything about which, nevertheless I do know which from the talks which we have — whether the idea’s Jerusalem, whether the idea’s North Korea — the idea’s about, how do we protect the U.S. citizens from the area?”

However, Mark Jones, a spokesman for the United States Olympic Committee, said there had been no discussion of American athletes’ staying away.

“We have not had any discussions, either internally or with our government partners, about the possibility of not taking teams to the 2018 Olympic along with Paralympic Winter Games,” he said in a statement. “We plan on supporting two full delegations in Pyeongchang.”

South Korea has invited the North to participate from the Games. nevertheless the military drills with the United States along with the recent defection of a North Korean soldier to the South have reignited tensions along with undercut hopes for a thaw in time for the Olympics.

As part of the military exercises, the United States flew two B-1B heavy bombers, the largest American strike aircraft, over South Korea on Thursday.

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