Growing tension with North Korea may cause the United States to pull out of the 2018 Winter Olympics.
U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley raised that prospect during an interview with Fox News on Tuesday, saying that U.S. participation in the Olympics, which are scheduled to begin February 9 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, is “an open question.”
U.S. officials are already considering their options, Haley said.
“I think these are conversations we are going to have,” she said, though she added that Americans “don’t fear anything, we live our lives.”
Haley said the situation is changing day to day, and concerns about the safety of U.S. athletes and citizens attending the games had to be taken into consideration.
Haley’s admission that safety concerns might cause the U.S. to stay home contrasted from comments National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster made Saturday at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California.
While McMaster acknowledged that the threat from North Korea is “increasing every day,” he said there was no reason for Americans not to come to Pyeongchang to watch the Olympics.
“We have an extraordinary ready and capable military and that military is getting stronger every day.”
Tensions with North Korea, already at a high level, increased last week when North Korea fired an advanced intercontinental ballistic missile and continued to increase when the U.S. and South Korea held military exercises later in the week.
Adding to the problem has been the heated rhetoric between North Korean President Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.
Trump has referred to the North Korean president as “little rocket man” and made references to him being short and fat, while North Korea’s ruling party newspaper in an editorial called Trump a “hideous criminal who has been sentenced to death by the Korean people.”
The Olympic site is approximately 40 miles from the demilitarized zone, a fact that had caused sluggish ticket sales for the event, though those have picked up in recent weeks.
International Olympic Committee officials say there is no reason to fear attending the events, claiming there is no security threat.
Should the United States decide not to attend the 2018 Winter Olympics, it would be the first time the U.S. has not been at the Olympics since President Jimmy Carter boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in the Soviet Union to protest that country’s invasion of Afghanistan.