U.S. expects to participate in Winter Olympics: White House

FILE PHOTO: The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics mascot Soohorang, Paralympics mascot Bandabi and the Olympic Rings are displayed at the Gyeongpodae beach in Gangneung, South Korea, October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on Thursday said the United States looks forward to participating in the Olympic Winter Games in South Korea in February, after questions arose about security in the neighbor to North Korea, which has recently ramped up weapons testing.

"The U.S. looks forward to participating in the Winter Olympics in South Korea," Sanders wrote in a tweet. "The protection of Americans is our top priority and we are engaged with the South Koreans and other partner nations to secure the venues."

United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley had cast doubt over whether athletes representing the country would participate in the Olympics, telling Fox News on Wednesday that the United States is concerned about its citizens,

When asked Thursday at the regular White House press briefing, Sanders said "no official decision has been made" about participation and the decision would come closer to the games' start date, Feb. 9. She also said the decision would be reached through a process involving multiple agencies, where President Donald Trump would "certainly weigh in."

(This story has been refiled to change Olympics to Olympic in the first paragraph)

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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