North Korea could deal a ‘fatal blow’ to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea if it launches a missile before the event, a minister for the host country has warned.
Unification Minister Cho Myoung-Gyon made the remarks as reports said annual South Korea-US military exercises might be postponed to avoid coinciding with the winter games and Paralympics in South Korea’s Pyeongchang.
‘If the North provokes again at a time when the Olympic Games are imminent, it may deal a fatal blow to the Olympics,’ he said at a forum in Seoul.
The world’s largest winter sports festival takes place from February 9 to 25 next year in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Pictured: The snow-sculpture-shaped Olympic rings near the town
Unification Minister Cho Myoung-Gyon said: ‘If the North provokes again at a time when the Olympic Games are imminent, it may deal a fatal blow to the Olympics’. Pictured: The Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium in the town of Hoenggye
Both the Olympics and Paralympics will be held in the mountainous resort town of Pyeongchang (pictured), 50 miles south of the border with North Korea
A view of the newly developed intercontinental ballistic rocket Hwasong-15’s test was successfully launched is seen in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang
The North Korean leader was surrounded by subordinates who keenly clapped the test, which saw the rocket fall into Japanese waters yesterday
‘Therefore it is important to stage the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in a stable atmosphere’, he added.
The world’s largest winter sports festival takes place from February 9 to 25 next year.
The Paralympics are scheduled to begin on March 9.
Both will be held in the mountainous resort town of Pyeongchang, 50 miles south of the border with North Korea.
The annual military exercises, codenamed Key Resolve/Foal Eagle, usually start late February or early March and run until the end of April.
Tensions tend to rise during the drills, which are condemned by the North as rehearsals for invasion.
North Korea has invariably reacted angrily to the exercises, conducting its own military drills, including missile launches.
Yonhap news agency, quoting defence sources, said Seoul may request the postponement of the joint US-South Korea exercises to avoid overlapping with the Olympics.
But the presidential Blue House said it has not discussed this or made any decisions on the matter.
North Korea on Wednesday launched a new intercontinental ballistic missile which it says will bring the entire US territory within range.
The missile flew for around 50 minutes, travelling 620 miles, reaching an unprecedented altitude of 2,800 miles, before splashing down in the Sea of Japan
The Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile was launched eastward from Pyongsong in North Korea’s South Pyongan Province.
It flew for around 50 minutes, reaching an unprecedented altitude of 2,800 miles, before splashing down in the Sea of Japan around 620 miles away.
It marked the first missile launched since one was fired across Japan and into the Pacific Ocean on September 15.
Donald Trump took a rhetorical shot at North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un on Wednesday, calling him ‘a sick puppy’ for blasting an intercontinental ballistic missile in Japan’s direction.
The US also warned the North’s leadership will be ‘utterly destroyed’ if war breaks out and called on countries to cut all diplomatic and trade ties with North Korea – including Chinese oil supplies.