North Korea tests in International Olympic Committee spotlight


Lausanne (Switzerland): The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Monday it was closely monitoring the North Korea situation after a fresh nuclear arms test, just six months from the opening of the 2018 Winter Games in neighbouring South Korea.

“Obviously we are following the situation closely. We are in contact with all the countries concerned,” the IOC told AFP on Monday.

Pyongyang launched its largest-ever weapons test on Sunday, firing a hydrogen bomb that was felt in Chinese cities hundreds of kilometres from the North’s border.

Preparations for the Winter Olympics which take place from February 9-25 “were continuing as scheduled”, the IOC said.

“We enjoy excellent working relations with the organising committee and we are excepting a great Games in a few months in Pyeongchang,” it added.

The South and the nuclear-armed North are separated by one of the world’s most heavily-armed borders and remain technically at war after the Korean War ended with an armistice in 1953 instead of a peace treaty. Pyongyang boycotted the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

Tensions are high on the peninsula over the North’s missile and nuclear weapons programmes, which have shown significant progress in recent years under leader Kim Jong-Un.