White House says United States 'looks forward' to participating in Winter Olympics

Pyeongchang 2018 have signed a sponsorship deal with German-based company Bauerfeind

The participation of USA athletes in the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea's Pyeongchang is still an "open question" against the backdrop of the North Korea-related tensions in the region, Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said. "We don't ever fear anything, we live our lives", Haley said in the interview. And certainly, that's a ideal opportunity for all of them to go and do something they've worked so hard for. "What we will do is make sure we're taking every precaution possible to make sure that they're safe and to know everything that's going on around them", Haley added.

The IOC said Wednesday before Haley's comments that the security situation remains unchanged despite continued missile tests by North Korea and sustained rhetoric between its leader, Kim Jong Un, and President Donald Trump.

The concerns appear to be over safety and the ongoing nuclear standoff with North Korea.

Despite government officials' speculation that the U.S. national team may not participate, U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Jones told the Washington Post that his organization is planning on attending the Games.

The 2018 Winter Olympics are set to be held February 9-25 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

"There is an open question", Haley said.

"We haven't heard anyone saying they aren't coming", Nancy Park, spokeswoman for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, said after Haley's comments.

The IOC and United States Olympic Committee (USOC), however, claim to be "closely monitoring" the situation but that it is now safe for competition.

This is not the first time the 2018 South Korean Winter Olympics have been a topic of contention.

In related news, Russian Federation this week was banned from attending the Winter Olympics 2018 after "systematic manipulation" of anti-doping rules.

"We are confident in the Pyeongchang Organising Committee's ability to deliver a great Games, and our hope is that the focus will be on our athletes".

As the host country for the Winter Olympics, South Korea invited North Korea to the games, but it is unclear whether this will diffuse tensions following joint American-South Korean air force drills and North Korea's recent missile launch.

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