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Winter Olympics will go ahead despite Korean tensions, Bach says

LIMA - International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach said Monday that there was "no doubt" that the Winter Olympics would go ahead in Pyeongchang in February, despite ongoing tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Bach said at a press conference in Lima that the IOC was in contact with different governments about the situation, but said there was "not even a hint" that the Games were under threat.

The next Winter Games are due to take place in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang from February 9 to 25, 2018.

The town is located less than 100 kilometres from the border with North Korea, which maintains a historic confrontation with its southern neighbour.

North Korea's nuclear tests and missile tests, as well as the threat of potential US military retaliation, have increased fears of conflict in the region. Bach said that the IOC is hoping for a diplomatic solution to tensions in the region.

He added that North Korean athletes were welcome at the Games, and that he hopes that the UN General Assembly would approve a resolution for Olympic peace in November.

Bach made the comments as IOC officials began meeting Monday in the Peruvian capital at the start of a week which will see two Games awarded, amid ongoing corruption scandals surrounding the Olympic movement.

IOC members on Wednesday are set to approve Paris as 2024 Olympics host, with Los Angeles hosting the 2028 Games.

The executive board is meeting Monday and Tuesday ahead of the four-day IOC Session in Lima which will also get updates from upcoming hosts Pyeongchang (Winter 2018), Tokyo (Summer 2020) and Beijing (Winter 2022).

"It's just exciting to see the way they embrace the Olympic Agenda," IOC president Thomas Bach said of Paris' and Los Angeles' bid applications.

He said that both Paris and Los Angeles "set the benchmark" for making the games more feasible and commended the spirit of cooperation between the two cities.

In an online statement issued Monday, the IOC executive board also said that, as part of the organization's new Olympic Agenda reform programme, it will be addressing "infringements from the past."

It defended its actions in relation to allegations of vote-buying levelled at former IOC honorary member Lamine Diack, saying it took "immediate action."

It also said it has requested its lawyers contact Brazilian judicial authorities regarding "their latest corruption investigation into the 2009 vote for the allocation of the Olympic Games 2016."

"The IOC Ethics Commission is following up on this matter. Where evidence is provided, we will act," the statement concluded.

The unique deal to award the 2024 and 2028 editions to Paris and Los Angeles in one IOC session was reached at an extraordinary IOC Session in Lausanne in July.

When asked whether awarding a Games over a decade in advance was a problem, Bach said Monday the decision "has the advantage, in times which you will have to agree are not stable, the IOC will enjoy great stability."

The more than 100 IOC members will still be given brief presentations from the two cities on Wednesday.

Both cities were originally among several bidders for 2024 but were left as the only candidates after Boston, Budapest, Hamburg and Rome pulled out.

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