White House ‘looks forward’ to Winter Olympics

In this Friday, Feb. 3, 2017 photo, a man walks by the Olympic rings with a sign of 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. One year before the Olympics, the country is in political disarray, and winter sports are the last thing on many people’s minds. To say that South Koreans are distracted from what had been billed as a crowning sports achievement is an understatement. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

The Latest on the Olympic games in Pyeongchang (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says the U.S. “looks forward to participating” in the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

She tweeted that update minutes after saying at a briefing that no official decision had been made.

Her tweet reads: “The U.S. looks forward to participating in the Winter Olympics in South Korea. The protection of Americans is our top priority and we are engaged with the South Koreans and other partner nations to secure the venues.”

Heightened tensions on the Korea peninsula have raised safety questions about U.S. participation. Sanders had earlier said “no official decision has been,” but that the American goal was to attend.

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2:15 p.m.

The White House spokeswoman says “no official decision has been made” about whether the U.S. will participate in the Olympic games set to take place next year in South Korea.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders tells reporters at a White House briefing that a decision will be made closer to the games’ date.

She says: “I know that the goal is to do so but that’ll be a decision made closer to the time.”

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley cast doubt on U.S. participation in an interview with Fox News Channel on Wednesday, given the tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

She told Fox News Channel that  U.S. participation is “an open question.”

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1:01 p.m.

The U.S. Olympic Committee still plans on bringing teams to the Pyeongchang Games in February despite U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley casting doubt on U.S. participation.

In an interview Wednesday with Fox News Channel, Haley was asked if it’s an open question about whether the U.S. team will compete at the Olympics in South Korea, given the tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

“There’s an open question,” she said. “I have not heard anything about that. 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.”

USOC spokesman Mark Jones released a statement Thursday in response, saying the committee had not had any discussions, either internally or with government officials.

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