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2009/10/31 03:19 KST
N. Korea sought Soviet support for joint hosting of Seoul Olympics: dossier

By Hwang Doo-hyong
WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 (Yonhap) -- North Korea sought help from the Soviet Union to persuade South Korea to hold the 1988 Summer Olympics jointly with Pyongyang, a diplomatic dossier shows.

   Hwang Jang-yeop, then secretary of North Korea's ruling Workers Party, met with Alexander Yakovlev, secretary of the Soviet Communist Party and a ruling politburo member, in Pyongyang on May 16, 1986, to make the request, according to a Soviet document obtained Friday from Kyungnam University professor Shin Jong-dae, who is undertaking North Korea International Documentation Project jointly with Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

   "We are not trying to ruin the XXIV Olympic Games and our demands are quite modest," Hwang told Yakovlev. "We would like to hold Olympic competitions in three or four events in Pyongyang. We are not insisting on holding a meeting of representatives of the socialist countries in order for the socialist countries to make the same statement which F. Castro made. He said that Cuba will not participate in the Olympics if the DPRK proposal about holding the Games in Seoul and Pyongyang is not realized."

   Yakovlev, however, said that the International Olympic Committee looked unfavorably on socialist countries after the boycott of the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. The boycott by the Soviets and socialist allies was made in retaliation for the failure of the U.S. and other Western countries to attend the Moscow Olympics in 1980 in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan a year earlier.

   "The IOC is a reality with which we are forced to reckon," the Soviet politburo member said. "We encounter a tendency in the international arena to isolate the socialist countries and attempts to hinder their participation in the 1988 Olympics Games in Seoul. This is what the U.S. long-term strategy in the sporting movement is directed at."

   Yakovlev called for a careful approach on the issue to defend the common interests of socialism and North Korea.

   Hwang, for his part, asked Moscow to warn the IOC that any failure by Pyongyang to jointly hold the 1988 Olympics would result in a crisis.

   "The Soviet comrades could say that if the DPRK proposal for the joint organization of the Games is not adopted, a dangerous crisis will be created for the Olympic movement, that the USSR has to think deeply about the question of participating in the Games, and that the South Korean side should bear full responsibility for all the consequences ensuing from holding the Olympic Games in Seoul separately," said Hwang, who defected to South Korea in 1997.

   In late 1987, North Korean agents blew up a South Korean civilian airline, killing all 115 people aboard, in an apparent effort to disrupt the Seoul Olympics after its failure to co-host the Olympics.