Olympics: NBC monitors Korea tensions as it preps for Winter Games

Taeyang

Taeyang

Chang also ruled out the possibility of using venues in the North to co-host the February 9-25 Winter Games and dismissed the notion that a unified team would help improve ties by saying: "The Olympics should not be used for a political aim".

Do also said consideration is being given to the idea of taking the Olympic torch relay through North Korean cities like Kaesong or Pyongyang, the daily said.

USA broadcaster NBC is monitoring the security situation on the Korean Peninsula and so far does not expect to change its plans to send a more than 2,000-person workforce to the Winter Games in South Korea, NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel said in an interview on Thursday. But further talks must be held with the International Olympic Committee because North Korean athletes have not yet qualified for the winter games, he added.

South and nuclear-armed North Korea are separated by one of the world's most heavily armed borders, and remain technically at war.

North Korea appears to be specifying the lifting of sanctions imposed on the rogue state as a condition for the formation of a single, combined team representing the two Koreas at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, local media reported Monday.

Chang Ung, the only North Korean member of the IOC and former International Taekwondo Federation chief, expressed his doubts toward Seoul's Culture Minister Do Jong-hwan's proposal of a joint women's hockey team and holding skiing games on North Korean slopes.

He said he would discuss co-hosting at the Masikryong ski resort with Jang Woong, North Korea's delegate to the IOC.

"If North Korean athletes participate in the Pyeongchang Olympics, I think it would greatly contribute in realizing Olympic values, which are about bringing humanity together and promoting world peace", said Moon.

"There are obviously geopolitical issues", Zenkel said, speaking by telephone.

"If the South Korean authorities continue to go for confrontation, refusing to accept this will and intention, we will make our own option".

The two teams regularly play each other in friendlies and at global competitions.

However, an attempt to reach an agreement on co-hosting the 1988 Olympics, held in Seoul, broke down and North Korea ended up boycotting the games.

John Delury, a professor at Yonsei University's Graduate School of International Relations, said the games were an appropriate venue to at least try to mend ties.

Despite lingering tensions on the divided peninsula following a string of missile tests by the North, the two Koreas have taken part in a series of sporting exchanges this year, Yonhap news agency said.

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