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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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1988 Seoul Olympic Games

A collection of primary source documents about the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games drawn from the archives of the International Olympic Committee. The collection highlight the relationship between sport and politics and offer an unprecedented window into North Korea's negotiating strategies, inter-Korean relations, and the DPRK’s foreign relations at the end of the Cold War. (Image, fireworks over the closing ceremonies of the Seoul Olympics, 1988, US Department of Defense, DF-ST-90-05038)

  • January 13, 1986

    Meeting between the International Olympic Committee President and the DPRK’s National Olympic Committee on North Korea’s participation in the 1988 Olympic games

    Summary of an informal meeting between IOC President Samaranch and North Korea's Olympic Committee regarding the 1988 Summer Olympics. Topics discussed included potential sporting events to be held in Pyongyang, the possibility of a joint North-South Korea team, information on the torch relay and what the official name of the 1988 Summer Olympics would be.

  • January 15, 1986

    Meeting between the International Olympic Committee President and the DPRK’s National Olympic Committee on North Korea’s participation in the 1988 Olympic games

    Notes on a meeting between IOC President Samaranch and members of the North Korean Olympic Committee. The group discusses potential events held in Pyongyang, the itinerary of the torch flame and a potential joint team effort between North and South Korea.

  • January 15, 1986

    Letter from the International Olympic Committee President to the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of the ROK with a Summary of the January 8-9 1986 Meeting between the Two Korean NOCS

    A letter from IOC President Samaranch to the North Korean Olympic Committee, which included a summary of a recent meeting between the Olympic Committees of North and South Korea, at which some of the issues discussed were events that could be held in North Korea, the torch relay, and future meetings.

  • January 20, 1986

    International Olympic Committee Meeting with the DPRK’s National Olympic Committee regarding North Korea’s Participation in the 1988 Olympics

    Notes on an informal meeting between IOC President Samaranch and members of the North Korean Olympic Committee. North Korea stated that it would want at least eight events to occur on their territory, as opposed to the three offered. North Korea was also interested in involvement with the torch relay and reiterated its desire to include "Pyongyang" in the official name of the Olympics.

  • March 07, 1986

    International Olympic Committee Meeting with the South Korean Sports Minister and his Delegation regarding the Asian Games and Television Rights

    Notes on a meeting between the IOC and the South Korean Sports Minister, discussing preparations for the Asian games, television rights and IOC meetings in Seoul.

  • March 07, 1986

    International Olympic Committee Meeting with the DPRK delegation regarding the Details of holding the 1988 Olympic Games in Pyongyang

    Notes on a meeting between IOC President Samaranch (with IOC VP Siperco) and members of the North Korean Olympic Committee. Topics discussed included sports events to be held in Pyongyang, the name to be given to the 1988 Summer Games, the organization of games in Pyongyang, and a joint North-South Korea team.

  • April 19, 1986

    International Olympic Committee President interview with Chun Doo-hwan on North Korean Threats to the 1988 Seoul Olympics

    IOC President Samaranch speaks to South Korean President Chun Doo-Hwan. Samarach tries to persuade Chun to concede some of the sports organizing at the upcoming Summer 1988 Olympics to North Korea, as their demands have "decreased drastically." Chun fears that concessions now will lead to greater concessions in the future. Chun urges Samaranch to take control of the situation, as the IOC is well-respected. In order for the IOC to negotiate with North Korea, North Korea must declare that it will honor the Olympic Charter.

  • April 25, 1986

    Meeting between President Chun Doo Hwan and President Samaranch

    Meeting between President Chun Doo Hwan and President Samaranch

  • May 16, 1986

    Conversation between the Secretary of the CC CPSU A.N. Yakovlev with the Secretary of the CC KWP Hwang Jang-yeop

    Conversation between the Secretary of the CC CPSU A.N. Yakovlev with the Secretary of the CC KWP Hwang Jang-yeop

  • June 10, 1986

    Memorandum of the Two-Day Meeting between the Two Korean National Olympic Committees and the International Olympic Committee on June 10-11, 1986

    Memorandum of negotiations between the NOCs of the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the IOC in Lausanne from June 10-11, 1986.

  • October 10, 1986

    Summary of Negotiations between the Two Korean National Olympic Committees

    IOC Summary Report on negotiations between North Korea, South Korea, and the IOC over the 1988 Olympic Games.

  • October 15, 1986

    Recommendation by the National Olympic Committee of the ROK to the International Olympic Committee on North Korea

    A message from South Korea to the IOC thanking them for their work on the upcoming 1988 Summer Olympics. They also express their mistrust and apprehension toward working with North Korea on the Games.

  • November 11, 1986

    Statement by M.S. Gorbachev: “The Amelioration of the International Situation, Strengthening of Peace”

    Statement by M.S. Gorbachev: “The Amelioration of the International Situation, Strengthening of Peace”

  • July 14, 1987

    Memorandum of the Meeting between the National Olympic Committees of the Two Koreas and the International Olympic Committee, Lausanne, 14-15 July 1987

    An official meeting between the Olympic Committees of North and South Korea, joined by the IOC President Samaranch and delegates. The group discusses issues of which sporting events North Korea would be able to organize at the upcoming 1988 Summer Olympics, where would opening and closing ceremonies occur and the appreciation both sides felt for the efforts of the IOC to work out the variety of issues between North and South Korea.

  • September 11, 1987

    North Korea’s Advance Notice for Delivery of a Letter to the National Olympic Committee of the ROK on the Olympic games

    An advance notice from North Korea that a letter on issues regarding the 1988 Summer Olympics will be delivered. Issues of co-hosting and other negotiations are covered.

  • January 11, 1988

    Letter from the DPRK’s National Olympic Committee to the International Olympic Committee President stating North Korea’s Position regarding their Participation in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

    A letter from North Korean Olympic Committee President Kim Yu Sun to IOC President Samaranch indicating that North Korea was not likely to participate in the upcoming 1988 Summer Olympics. North Korea cited the failure to come up with a joint hosting plan as the main issue, but pointed out that they remained hopeful that an agreement might be reached.

  • January 13, 1988

    Letter from Fidel Castro the International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch

    Letter from Fidel Castro the IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch

  • January 15, 1988

    Information Note on a Visit by Soviet Olympic Committee President Gramow to Munich

    Report submitted to IOC President Samaranch describing a visit to by Soviet Olympic Committee President Gramow to Munich. Gramow remarked that North Korea's decision on participating the upcoming 1988 Summer Olympics would have no influence on the attitude of the Soviet Union. Gramow also commented that sporting relations between the USSR and Germany were developing positively.

  • January 18, 1988

    Note from Juan Antonio Samaranch to Mr. Willi Daume

    Note from IOC President Samaranch to Germany Olympic Committee President Willi Daume, thanking him for a report.

  • January 21, 1988

    Letter from the International Olympic Committee President to Roh Tae-Woo, Requesting the Adjournment of the 'Team Spirit 88' Exercises for the Safety of the 1988 Seoul Olympics

    A letter from IOC President Samaranch requesting that the South Korean government adjourn its "Team Spirit 88" exercises, a joint military display/exercise with the U.S., due to tensions involving the Olympics and North Korea.