The 2018 Winter Olympics are right around the corner — they’re set to begin in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on February 9th.
There has already been serious speculation about the impact heightened tensions surrounding North Korea’s nuclear program could have on the games. In September, France announced its athletes would not be attending the Olympics unless security could be guaranteed. Austria and Germany followed suit a few days later.
Last month, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley characterized the United States’ participation in the games as an “open question.” Then White House spox Sarah Huckabee Sanders seemed to echo Haley’s ambivalence, but later clarified:
UPDATE: The U.S. looks forward to participating in the Winter Olympics in South Korea. The protection of Americans is our top priority and we are engaged with the South Koreans and other partner nations to secure the venues.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) December 7, 2017
Yesterday, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham raised the question anew, following remarks from Kim Jong Un about North Korea’s interest in attending the games.
On Monday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made comments about the Winter Olympics in a New Year’s Day speech, indicating that the nation was ready to attend the games.
“North Korea’s participation in the Winter Games will be a good opportunity to show unity of the people, and we wish the games will be a success,” Kim said, according to NBC News.
Allowing Kim Jong Un’s North Korea to participate in #WinterOlympics would give legitimacy to the most illegitimate regime on the planet.
I’m confident South Korea will reject this absurd overture and fully believe that if North Korea goes to the Winter Olympics, we do not.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 1, 2018
I don’t disagree with his sentiments, but it stinks for our athletes to be left in limbo like this.
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