Security Concerns Again Hang Over Winter Olympics – Forbes

The PyeongChang 2018 Olympic medals during their unveiling at a ceremony in Seoul on Sept. 21. (Photo by JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

North Korea ramped up its vitriol on Monday, undoubtedly increasing concerns by athletes who are preparing for what might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at next year’s 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

The Games will not take place for another few months, scheduled for Feb. 9-25. However, concerning rhetoric continues to make its way out of Pyongyang.

The latest development includes the term “war” as North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho states, via CNN, “Last weekend Trump claimed that our leadership wouldn’t be around much longer and declared a war on our country.”

Ri referenced comments delivered by President Donald Trump via social media.

Ri continued, “Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make all self-defensive counter measures, including the right to shoot down the United States strategic bombers at any time, even when they are not yet inside the aerospace border of our country.”

The caustic back-and-forth between the two nations comes just a few days after France vowed to pull its sporting contingent from the coming Winter Games if security and safety for its athletes were not guaranteed.

USA Today quotes France’s sports minister Laura Flessel as saying: “If this gets worse and we do not have our security assured, then our French team will stay here. We will not put our team in danger.”

USA Today published a statement from an unnamed International Olympic Committee spokesman reading reads: “Athletes’ safety and security are of course a primary concern for the IOC. We are in close contact with the heads of government concerned and the United Nations over the past months, and in none of the discussions has anybody expressed any doubt about the Olympic Games 2018. This position has been confirmed in meetings with a number of leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in the past days. We continue to monitor the situation on the Korean Peninsula and the region very closely. We are working with the organizing committee on the preparations of these Games, which continue to be on track.”