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France threatens to skip 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea over security concerns

Olympic leaders have said only that they are monitoring the situation on the Korean Peninsula. (Sept. 22, 2017)

A week of bluster and bargaining at the United Nations has done little to ease safety concerns surrounding the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

With world leaders offering a variety of approaches to the issue of neighboring North Korea and its expanding nuclear program, a French official said her country would consider skipping the Games in February.

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Sports Minister Laura Flessel told RTL radio that if "our security cannot be assured, the French Olympics team will stay at home."

"We're not there yet," she added.

Other countries — including the U.S., Japan and China — have insisted their teams are continuing to prepare for Pyeongchang.

North Korea has raised fears by launching two mid-range missiles over Japan's northern islands and conducting a half-dozen nuclear tests.

Speaking at the annual U.N. general assembly earlier this week, President Trump threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if the country uses nuclear weaponry against the U.S. or its allies. In a calmer note, South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for a diplomatic solution.

Pyeongchang lies in mountainous terrain just south of the demilitarized zone. Olympic leaders have said only that they are monitoring the situation on the Korean Peninsula, giving no indications that the Olympics might be postponed or moved to another location.

Moon has encouraged North Korea and its athletes to participate in the Games, which are scheduled to begin Feb. 9.

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