United States participation in Pyeongchang Games an open question, Nikki Haley says

Tatiana Lebedeva

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"As the president said yesterday while expressing his view of the situation surrounding the IOC's decision, the reason is that there are still a lot of unanswered questions".

The BBC also quoted him saying about the possibility of Russian athletes parading under their own flag at the closing ceremony in Pyeongchang: "A new beginning is possible and we can look into the future of clean sport in Russia and this could be a really strong message".

She added: "I have not heard anything about that, but I do know in the talks that we have - whether it's Jerusalem, whether it's North Korea - it's always about, how do we protect the USA citizens in the area?"

"We need to do everything to make sure our athletes are not subject to any kind of discrimination, and that they are given equal opportunities", he added.

Tensions with the US have ratcheted up after a series of North Korean missile tests.

The most recent ballistic missile test was conducted by Pyongyang in late November.

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It is worth mentioning, however, that concern in South Korea is far lower as similar rhetoric has been common ever since the Korean War ended with a ceasefire rather than a peace treaty in 1953.

South Korean officials and Games organisers have also repeatedly promised that the event will be safe to attend. It is yet unclear who will bear the expenses related to the participation of Russian athletes in the 2018 Olympic Games, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

"We are confident in the Pyeongchang Organising Committee's ability to deliver a great Games, and our hope is that the focus will be on our athletes".

He also argued that the International Olympic Committee decision on Tuesday to ban the Russian Federation team from the Winter Games in South Korea for anti-doping violations at the 2014 Sochi Games had political underlining. The IOC said only individual athletes who've never violated anti-doping rules will be allowed to compete and without the Russian flag or national anthem.

They will, however, have strong cases to have their lifetime Olympic bans lifted.

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