Rattled by rising tensions with North Korea, South Korea is taking extra measures to try to ensure the safety of the 2018 Winter Games, including setting up a cyber defence team and doubling the number of troops, according to officials and documents reviewed by Reuters.
The South Koreans have seen members of National Olympic Associations including Sean Field-Lament from the Bermuda Olympic Association attend meetings in Pyongyang, for site visits and receive updated information.
The Games take place next February in the mountainous resort town of Pyeongchang, just 80km from the heavily fortified border with North Korea.
South Korea’s Defence Ministry will deploy some 5,000 armed forces personnel at the Games, double the 2,400 on duty during the 2002 World Cup, which South Korea co-hosted with Japan, according to government officials and documents reviewed by Reuters. Pyeongchang’s organising committee for the 2018 Games (POCOG) is also selecting a private cybersecurity company to guard against a hacking attack from the North, tender documents show.
The committee is seeking to fast track the selection as tensions rise in the wake of South Korea’s controversial deployment of the US THAAD anti-missile system, and as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un tests weapons at an unprecedented rate.