NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s an “open question” whether the United States will send its athletes to compete in next year’s Winter Olympics in South Korea, said Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
In an interview on Fox News on Wednesday night, Haley said, due to tensions with North Korea, there are concerns about the safety of Americans in the region. The games will be played Feb. 9-25 in Pyeongchang, located about 50 miles from the demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea.
“I have not heard anything about that,” Haley said. “But I do know in the talks that we have — whether it’s Jerusalem or North Korea — it’s about, how do we protect the U.S. citizens in the area?”
Last month, North Korea launched its latest ballistic missile test, one that traveled a distance that could put New York and Washington, D.C., in reach. Meanwhile, the U.S., under President Donald Trump, has been grappling with how to shut down North Korea’s nuclear activity.
The situation could put American athletes, their families and others traveling to the Olympics at risk.
“I think those are conversations we are going to have to have, but what have we always said? We don’t ever fear anything, we live our lives,” Haley said. “What we will do is make sure that we’re taking every precaution possible to make sure that they’re safe and to know everything that’s going on around them.”
Mark Jones, a spokesman for the United States Olympic Committee, said his organization has had no discussions “about the possibility of not taking teams to the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.”
“We plan on supporting two full delegations in Pyeongchang,” he said in a statement.
The last time the United States sat out the Olympics was in 1980, when they boycotted the Summer Games in Moscow to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.