NEW YORK, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- South Korea's Winter Olympic Committee says it is ready to host the "safest Games in history," after concerns were raised in the United States by comments from U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.
The Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Committee told UPI on Thursday that South Korea is monitoring the situation on the peninsula and government agencies are working around the clock to ensure security for all athletes at the Winter Games.
"We work in close cooperation with the government and the relevant organizations to monitor the current situation and will continue to do so," a POCOG spokeswoman said. "We and the host cities have established a response system and prepared for security activities during Games time in order to host the safest Games in history."
The committee also confirmed South Korea has set up a Counterterrorism and Safety Center, "along with 19 relevant agencies including National Intelligence Service, National Police Agency, Ministry of Defense and serve as the control tower."
The statement from the committee confirms South Korea is taking security during the games seriously.
North Korea's provocations in 2017, including most recently the launch of a long-range missile, the Hwasong-15, on Nov. 28, have been met with condemnations and concern.
Haley said Dec. 6 that North Korea actions are a threat, and U.S. attendance at the Winter Games remained an "open question."
The White House promptly refuted the remarks, and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted the United States "looks forward to participating in the Winter Olympics in South Korea."
Sanders also tweeted, "The protection of Americans is our top priority and we are engaged with the South Koreans and other partner nations to secure the venues."
In September, following North Korea's sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3, and the test of a ballistic missile on Sept. 15, South Korea's military stated it would deploy 5,000 troops to Olympic sites to ensure maximum safety.
The troops would serve in counterterrorism operations, snow removal, traffic management and medical support, according to the Munhwa Ilbo in September.
North Korea has stated it seeks recognition as a nuclear weapons state, but Pyongyang has not mentioned Pyeongchang in its official statements.
North Korean attendance at the games also remains an open question, as the Kim Jong Un regime has yet to give a definitive answer on attendance.
The safety of the 3,000 Olympic athletes, hailing from 90 countries, is becoming the focal point of Olympic organizers in Korea, since the completion of the Olympic Village last week. The complex will include two locations, one in the city of Pyeongchang, and a second subdivision in Gangneung.
The Pyeongchang campus cost $167.4 million of private investment, and Gangneung Village was built using nearly $200 million in public funds.
Both cities are located in Gangwon Province, the only region on the peninsula that is divided between North and South.
The committee released photos of the residences where athletes will be living as they compete during the games in February.
The buildings resemble similar apartment complexes found throughout South Korea, and pictures of the interior show bedrooms can accommodate up to two athletes per room.
The restrooms include showers but no bathtubs, and outside the apartments are places where "athletes and officials can relax and connect with athletes from other nations, creating memories and friendships that will last a lifetime," the committee said.
Security parameters around the villages also mean the general public will be unable to access the area, where 24-hour cafeterias will be serving global cuisine and providing food for athletes with dietary restrictions.
While the United States has confirmed attendance, U.S. intelligence may be monitoring the situation for safety risks.
Recently declassified CIA documents obtained by The Los Angeles Times show U.S. agents were worried Pyongyang would "ruin" the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.
South Korea may be coordinating with U.S. concerns ahead of 2018.
Of the 5,000 troops being deployed to Pyeongchang, about 800 soldiers are to engage in counterterrorism operations, according to the Munhwa.