White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday the U.S. will attend the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, despite reports that the U.S. may have reservations about security there given its proximity to North Korea.
“The U.S. looks forward to participating in the Winter Olympics in South Korea,” Sanders tweeted Thursday. “The protection of Americans is our top priority and we are engaged with the South Koreans and other partner nations to secure the venues.”
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
Questions about whether U.S. athletes would participate in the 2018 Games arose Wednesday when U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said it was an “open question” as to whether the U.S. would compete there.
“I have not heard anything about that, but I do know in the talks that we have — whether it’s Jerusalem or North Korea — it’s about, how do we protect the U.S. citizens in the area?” Haley told Fox News in an interview.
The response prompted the United States Olympics Committee and NBC, which is broadcasting the Winter Olympics, to clarify that they have not received any indications the U.S. would not compete.
When asked about Haley’s comments Thursday, Sanders initially told reporters “no official decision has been made,” and said the “goal is to" compete.
She clarified on Twitter that U.S. athletes would, indeed, participate.
Pyeongchang is located roughly 50 miles from the demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea. North Korea has continued with its nuclear weapons program, and tested an intercontinental ballistic missile at the end of last month.