France becomes first country to threaten to withdraw from 2018 Winter Olympics
If the South Korean standoff with Pyongyang continues, France has said they will stay home in 2018
From Feb. 9-25, Pyeongchang will be hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics -- but not every country is convinced that South Korea hosting is entirely safe. France has become the first country to come out and say that if South Korea cannot guarantee safety from their neighbor, North Korea, it will stay home for the Olympics. North Korea is currently involved in an international standoff over nuclear weapons that has some leaders uneasy.
"If this gets worse and we do not have our security assured, then our French team will stay here," Laura Flessel said, per RTL radio. "We will not put our team in danger."
The comments are seemingly in response to the International Olympic Committee's Thomas Bach, who has downplayed the North Korean threat.
"There is not even a hint that there is a threat for the security of the games in the context of the tensions between North Korea and some other countries," said Bach. He continued to say that "no doubt is being raised about the Olympic Winter Games in 2018."
Flessel, however, believes that the games are bigger than the threat, and she doesn't foresee a scenario in which the IOC would even consider cancellation.
"Today we are not at this point and I tell you and I ask you especially not to worry about this team from France who have been working for more than four years," she said. "We are aware of the situation and with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs we have a close relationship, so we continue to watch, to analyze."
The decision for France seems to based more on their perception of the situation, and will continue to be monitored as the 2018 Games draw nearer. North Korea has carried out six nuclear tests, an alarming flurry of activity, and having teams so close in proximity to a country conducting these tests is bound to make other countries -- not just France -- uneasy.
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