Winter Olympics will go ahead despite Korean tensions, Bach says

NBC News

Tensions on the Korean peninsula and the escalating North Korea crisis pose no threat to the security of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, says the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

But now there's concern that an increasingly belligerent North Korea, which has tested two ICBMs and its strongest ever nuclear bomb in recent weeks, might keep foreign fans away from Pyeongchang, a ski resort town about 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of the world's most heavily armed border.

Bach, speaking to reporters, said: "There is so far not even a hint that there is a threat for the security of the Games in the context of the tensions between North Korea and some other countries".

"We hope that these discussions to which we contribute will be successful so that a resolution can be approved", Bach said.

South Korean organizers for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games on Tuesday unveiled the official promotional posters for the Olympics and Paralympics. North Korea is traditionally weak at winter sports, though a figure skating pair has a chance to qualify and organizers are looking at ways to arrange special entries for North Korean athletes.

"I don't see this right now because there is a clear committment", Bach said.

Bach's comments followed a presentation to the IOC Executive Board earlier Monday by Pyeongchang chiefs.

Bach said the IOC had been in contact with the governments on the peninsula and said there was "no doubt being raised about the Olympic winter games in 2018".

The IOC session will be held from September 13 to 16 here with the vote to confirm the host cities for the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games as the highlight.

He said that both Paris and Los Angeles "set the benchmark" for making the games more feasible and commended the spirit of cooperation between the two cities.

Bach said that no organisation was "immune to credibility issues".

Lee also linked his optimism about ticket sales to South Korean experience managing past global events, including the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, three Asian Games and the 2002 World Cup soccer tournament.

"The IOC Ethics Commission is following up on this matter".

"Once evidence is there, we will act, and we will be in a position to make recommendations in this respect".

When asked whether awarding a Games over a decade in advance was a problem, Bach said Monday the decision "has the advantage, in times which you will have to agree are not stable, the International Olympic Committee will enjoy great stability".



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