The United States may bow out of the 2018 Winter Olympics.
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said that America’s participation in next February’s Winter games are dependent on mounting provocations by North Korea. The games will be held in South Korea’s PyeongChang.
Haley was asked on Fox News Wednesday might if sending American athletes to the games was a “done deal” and said that it is an “open question.”
“I have not heard anything about that,” she added, “but I do know in the talks that we have — whether it’s Jerusalem or North Korea — it’s about, how do we protect the U.S. citizens in the area?”
Haley’s comments came the same day that President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel — causing uproar among world leaders and fueling the threat of violent protests.
The 2018 Olympics will take place 50 miles from the Demilitarized Zone and heavily fortified and armed North Korea. She said that further conversations are necessary to ensure the safety of the American delegation.
“What have we always said — we don’t ever fear anything. We live our lives. … What we will do is make sure we’re taking every precaution possible to make sure that they’re safe and to know everything that’s going on around them,” Haley added. “So I think that’s something where the administration’s gonna come together and find out the best way to make sure they’re protected.”
A U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman has previously said that staging such a sports spectacle can be a challenge for any host city, which must contend with an influx of international visitors. The spokesman added that American officials were working with organizers and law enforcement ahead of time but haven’t discussed not sending athletes.
“We plan on supporting two full delegations in PyeongChang” for the Olympics and Paralympics, a U.S. Olympic Committee spokesperson told NBC Sports on Thursday.
America’s not the only country concerned about their safety, NBC News reports. France and Austria said they’ll also sit out the games if the safety of their athletes can’t be guaranteed.
In recent days, North Korea has continued to suggest that war is inevitable as it moves ahead with its missile testing program.
The U.S. this week has run military drills with South Korea by flying dozens of planes in a show of force. The move led North Korea to say in its state-run media that it could escalate the situation “to the brink of nuclear war.”
Some Olympic athletes training for PyeongChang told NBC News in recent weeks that family and friends are increasingly asking them about what rising tensions in the Korean Peninsula means for them. But they said they’re putting their faith in the U.S. Olympic Committee.
“Anywhere we go I wish we didn’t have to worry about what things could happen,” said Jamie Greubel Poser, who won bronze in women’s bobsled at the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia. “We just have to do our best to be aware while staying focused on our priority, which is competing.”