Austria may boycott South Korean Olympics over security fears


Austria may boycott South Korean Olympics over security fears

French Sports Minister Laura Flessel has said the country's team for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games will not travel to South Korea if its security can not be guaranteed.

If the crisis deepens and "our security can not be assured, the French Olympics team will stay at home", the country's sports minister, Laura Flessel, told RTL radio yesterday (Sept. 21) (link in French). "It remains a top priority and we are continuing to communicate with all stakeholders, including the National Olympic Committees, on this matter".

The games are being held in February just 50 miles from the heavily armed demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, now trading threats - also involving the United States - after the north's recent nuclear and missile tests.

IOC Vice-President Anita DeFrantz, who was also at the NY event, said the unveiling of the medals "makes the Games more real for the thousands of athletes who have been working towards the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 their entire lives".

Earlier this month, North Korea launched its sixth biggest nuclear bomb test so far. "If it gets worse and we do not have their security confirmed, our French team will stay here". On Thursday, South Korean President Moon Jae In told US President Donald Trump that the North's ongoing provocations were "extremely deplorable".

In total, 259 sets have been made for next year's Winter Games. The two countries remain technically at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended with a truce and not a peace treaty.

Nine American female athletes, including seven who are competing, have been selected to the Team Visa roster for the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

"Athletes' safety and security are of course a primary concern for the IOC".

Her comments come just days after International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach downplayed security fears following the recent escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula.

"As is always the case, we are working with the organisers, the US State Department and the relevant law enforcement agencies to ensure that our athletes, and our entire delegation, are safe", said USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky.

The Swedish Olympic Committee is closely following events and is soon planning to travel to South Korea.

Usually, Olympic tickets sell quickly, however, tensions in the Korean Peninsula have affected the sales.

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