Nikki Haley Calls US Presence at South Korea Olympics an 'Open Question'

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Asked on Fox News if athletes from the United States would be able to compete, Ms. Haley said: "There's an open question". She added that a decision would be made "closer to" the games.

"But I do know that in the talks that we have, whether it's Jerusalem, whether it's North Korea, it's always about, how do we do protect the U.S. citizens in the area". "We have to watch this closely, and it's changing by the day".

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders quickly walked back her remarks, after she suggested at a briefing Thursday that no decision had been made to send US athletes to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Haley saying that USA involvement is an "open question" was part of a larger quote - one that could hint at the topic never being raised in the first place. Poor ticket sales have also rocked the organisers. Experts warned that a US boycott of the games could have further implications.

"We have not had any discussions, either internally or with our government partners, about the possibility of not taking teams to the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games", he told the New York Times.

The question of US involvement in the games has been a talking point on FOX News for the past several days.

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) quickly contested the comments, saying there had been no discussion of abstaining from the games.

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The Olympics are an important event for South Korean national pride.

She continued, "South Korea would likely be very upset at even the hint of such an action, and this could cause great friction in the alliance relationship that could have consequences for years to come".

"The US looks forward to participating in the Winter Olympics in South Korea", Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted, just minutes after telling reporters that a final decision on the issue had yet to be made.

The Olympics were the site of terrorist attacks in the past, including the massacre of 11 members of the Israeli delegation at the 1972 Summer Games in Munich, and the 2008 games in Beijing when an assailant stabbed an American businessman to death and injured his wife and their tour guide.

This isn't really the president's decision anyway.

"U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness when traveling", the State Department message read.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Wednesday that it's still an "open question" as to whether the U.S. will send its athletes to the Winter Olympics, citing escalating tensions with North Korea.