United States expects to participate in Winter Olympics: White House

08 December, 2017, 01:17 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • BUDAPEST HUNGARY- FEBRUARY 17 Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban at Parliament on February 17

The U.S. Olympic Committee still plans on bringing teams to the Pyeongchang Games in February despite U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley casting doubt on U.S. participation.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dropped the bombshell during a press briefing, suggesting that the USA might still pull out of Pyeongchang.

Sanders offered conflicting statements about US participation Thursday, first telling reporters that the administration was still undecided on the matter and later posting an "update" to Twitter in which she suggested America compete and that the White House was working to ensure the safety of the athletes.

When asked whether she thought it would be safe for American athletes to compete in Pyeongchang, Haley said "it depends on what's going on at the time in the country".

"The protection of Americans is our top priority and we are engaged with the South Koreans and other partner nations to secure the venues.", she also tweeted.

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The confusion began when United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, in response to a question in a Fox News interview, said "There's an open question" about whether the U.S. team would travel to South Korea, where tensions have grown high after a series of missile tests in North Korea and inflammatory rhetoric between its leader, Kim Jong-un, and U.S. President Donald Trump. "I have not heard anything about that. So those are conversations that are happening daily". Sanders had earlier said "no official decision has been", but that the American goal was to attend. "We will keep you guys posted as those decisions are made".

That decision would involve multiple government agencies, she added, "but I think ultimately the president would certainly weigh in. But again, that's something that he would take into account...probably a number of the stakeholders that would be involved".

National security adviser H.R. McMaster said Saturday that the potential for war between the US and North Korea is "increasing every day". Just last week, the International Olympic Committee banned Russia's Olympic team from the games as punishment for a state-backed doping program.

The White House spokeswoman says "no official decision has been made" about whether the US will participate in the Olympic games set to take place next year in South Korea. Russian athletes who are determined to be clean will be able to participate wearing neutral uniforms.

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