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IOC chief Bach vows PyeongChang will be ‘safest place on Earth’ during Winter Olympics

January 24, 21:24 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Thomas Bach said that for the organizers and for the IOC in particular "the security has always been a high priority"

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MOSCOW, January 24. /TASS/. President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach said on Wednesday that South Korea’s PyeongChang would "be the safest place" on the globe during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, which kick off on the Korean peninsula in less than three weeks.

"PyeongChang during the time of the Olympic Games may be the safest place on Earth," Bach said during a telephone press conference on Wednesday.

Thomas Bach said that for the organizers and for the IOC in particular, "the security has always been a high priority and it means the security for all participants."

Last Saturday, representatives of North and South Koreas, their National Olympic Committees (NOCs), the 2018 Games’ organizers and the International Olympic Committee signed a declaration at the IOC’s headquarters in Lausanne on North Korea’s delegation participation in the Games, as well as on the unified team marching at the opening ceremony.

"There will be a great moment of emotion of the Korean people and not only for the Korean people, seeing this united team sending such a powerful message of the peace to the world," Bach said.

"We are all looking forward with anticipation and emotion to this moment," the IOC president stated. "This message is going beyond Koreas. By marching together these athletes will demonstrate that they want peace."

"This is the message that is shared by all of us," he said. "We want peace and athletes by marching together and by living together in one Olympic village show that it is possible to have peace and understanding if everybody is respecting each other."

Early this year, the first signs of thaw were seen in relations between North and South Korea. The two countries held talks at the ministerial level on January 9, for the first time since December 2015, in Panmunjom, a small village located in the demilitarized zone.

The sides agreed that North Korea will send its delegation, including officials, to the Olympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang. Seoul and Washington have also postponed their annual military drills Foal Eagle and Key Resolve, which irritate Pyongyang.

A week ago, representatives of North and South Korea met for the third time in 10 days, reaching agreements on the participation of Pyongyang’s delegation at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The upcoming Olympics, which are 23rd Winter Games, will take place in South Korea’s PyeongChang on February 9-25, 2018.

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