Olympic leaders hopeful as North Korea extends olive branch to Games

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un spoke about the 2018 Winter Games during his annual New Year’s Day address. (Jan. 2, 2018) (Sign up for our free video newsletter here

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On the same day that North Korea publicly wished success for the upcoming 2018 Winter Games in South Korea, Olympic leaders expressed their confidence the global sporting event can reach “beyond all political division.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un spoke about the Games during his annual New Year’s Day address, saying his country might meet with South Korean officials to discuss sending a Northern delegation to Pyeongchang during the competition next month.

“The Winter Olympic Games that will be held soon in the South will be a good opportunity to display the status of the Korean nation and we sincerely wish that the event will be held with good results,” Kim was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.


In a separate message, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said he was confident the Games can be held without incident.

“We know about the political tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” Bach said in a statement. But, he added, “the Olympic Games are about dialogue. They are a symbol of hope and peace.”

Tensions in the region have been heightened as Kim and President Trump have traded threats in recent months.

Even as Kim sounded a conciliatory note Monday, he also issued a warning.

“The U.S. should know that the button for nuclear weapons is on my table,” he was quoted as saying.

The Winter Olympics, which will take place not far from the demilitarized zone separating the North from the South, begin in early February.


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