US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has raised doubts over whether the US Winter Olympics team will compete in South Korea next year.
Haley said American participation in the games was still an ‘open question’ being discussed by the Trump administration.
Quizzed on what would stop athletes from attending, she said questions have been raised over ‘how we protect the US citizens in the area’.
Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, said America’s attendance at the 2018 Winter Olympics is still an ‘open question’ that is being discussed
She raised doubts over South Korea’s ability to keep US athletes safe amid heightened regional tensions (pictured, Haley shakes hands with South Korean ambassador Cho Tae-yul)
Speaking to Fox News she added: ‘I think those are conversations we are going to have to have, but what have we always said? We don’t fear anything, we live our lives.
‘And certainly [the games] is a perfect opportunity for all of [the athletes] to go and do something they have worked so hard for.’
Haley’s admission comes after the Russian team was issued a blanket ban after being implicated in a state-sponsored doping scandal during the Sochi Olympics in 2014.
Individual athletes will still be allowed to compete if they can prove they are clean, but will not be allowed to fly the Russian flag or have their anthem played.
The 2018 games is due to take place in PyeongChang, around 180 miles from Pyongyang
Haley’s comments came after Russia was issued with a blanket ban from the games over state-sponsored doping
The situation was previously described by Vladimir Putin as ‘a humiliation’, though he stopped short of ordering competitors to boycott.
Putin has denied any existence of a state doping scheme, instead calling the ban ‘politically motivated’.
Haley’s words also come shortly after Kim Jong-un held a test of the Hwasong-15 ICBM, which is the most powerful missile North Korea has ever tested.
That ratcheted up tensions on the Korean Peninsula and prompted the largest ever joint air drills by the US and South Korea.
In return China conducted its own trials as a show of force to Washington and a warning not to attack its neighbor.