(ATR) United States President Donald Trump committed to "sending a high-level delegation to the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics," on a call to South Korean President Jae In Moon.
A spokesperson for the United States National Security Council told Around the Rings that there are "no announcements about exactly who at this time" would travel to the Games. Follow up questions asking for confirmation that President Trump, anoted Olympic fan, would be in attendance were not returned.
A sitting United States President has not attended an Olympic Opening Ceremony since President George W. Bush at the Beijing 2008 Games.
Trump and Moon spoke yesterday to discuss security in the Korean Peninsula following a test of a reported intercontinental ballistic missile by North Korea.
"The two leaders discussed next steps to respond to this most recent provocation by North Korea, including how to bring maximum pressure to bear on the regime," the White House readout said. "The presidents reiterated their strong commitment to enhancing the alliance’s deterrence and defense capabilities. Both leaders reaffirmed their strong commitment to compelling North Korea to return to the path of denuclearization at any cost."
Experts told ATR yesterday that the missile test will likely not have much impact on security for the 2018 Games, rather it would shift dialogue on how to approach North Korea. PyeongChang 2018 told ATR that security remained a "top priority" for the Games. Each day 2,400 security personnel will be working to protect the Games.
A statement from the IOC to ATR confirmed that so far the South Korean government has given no indication that it would need to change its Games-time plans due to the tests.
"We continue to be in constant contact with the South Korean government, even today," an IOC spokesperson said. "We have been informed that the position of the South Korean government with regard to security at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 has not changed."
Security ahead of PyeongChang remains one of the largest stories for the preparations of the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Earlier this year, France Sports Minister Laura Flessel made headlines by suggesting that if French athletes’ protection could not be guaranteed, the country would skip the Games. British Olympic Association head Bill Sweeney told the AP that emergency evacuation plans had been prepared for athletes in case of an outbreak of war.
Despite such comments, all National Olympic Committees contacted by ATRspoke out in favor of going to the Games. United States Olympic Committee leadership went a step further to say that "not a single" athlete has expressed pause in travelling to PyeongChang.
Written by Aaron Bauer
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