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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 27, 1988

INFORMATION NOTE TO INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (IOC) FROM THE PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA TO THE UNITED NATIONS GENEVA REGARDING THE NORTH-SOUTH PARLIAMENTARY MEETING ON THE 1988 SEOUL OLYMPICS

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    Letter from Ryang Lee on a joint parliamentary meeting of South and North Korea during the 1988 Olympic Games.
    "Information Note to International Olympic Committee (IOC) from the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations Geneva regarding the North-South Parliamentary Meeting on the 1988 Seoul Olympics," July 27, 1988, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, International Olympic Committee Archives (Switzerland), SEOUL’ 88, POLITICAL MATTERS 1988-89; SEOUL ’88/ POLITIQUE (JANVIER – JUILLET). Obtained for NKIDP by Sergey Radchenko. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113534
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PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA
GENEVA
Facsimile Number (022) 91 05 25 DATE July 27, 1988

F A C S I M I L E C O M M U I N I C A T I O N F O R M

FROM : Mr. Ryang Lee, Counsellor .
TO : International Olympic Committee
ATTENTION : Mr. Alain Coupat________ FAX No : (021) 25 35 6 .
Private Secretary to the President

SUBJECT : South-North Parliamentary Meeting_________________________________
MESSAGE : ________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________


If you do not receive 6 pages (including cover page),
Please telephone (021) 91 01 11 or Telex 22179 KOGEN CH
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea
20, route de Pre-Bois, 1216 Cointrin, Geneva

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Seoul, July 27 (KPS) -- The chief policy makers of the four parties decided to send a letter to the north Korean legislature on August 1, suggesting that a parliamentary delegates meeting be held in early august at Panmunjom to discuss concrete ways to realize a south-north parliamentary meeting, it was reported today.

An assembly source said that the policy officials met in the presence of Speaker Kim Chae-Sun and agreed to tell the north that the south would send an 11- to 15-member delegation to Panmunjom some day not later than the second week of August, which north Korea decides.

At the meeting, three opposition party officials suggested that any place north Korea prefers be made the site of delegates talks. But the ruling party official proposed that it should be Panmunjom because if it were to be held in Pyongyang, it could pose a communication problem.

The source said that the number of each delegation was made 11 to 15 in consideration of the fact that the mem[b]ers of the standing committee of the North’s supreme people’s assembly is 15 or 11 minus its chairman and vice chairman.


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Meanwhile, parliamentary leaders were studying Wednesday the latest north Korean offer that the north is willing to discuss the issue of their participation in the Seoul Olympics as well as the question of adopting a non-aggression manifesto at a proposed inter-Korean parliamentary meeting.

The north Korean proposal came Tuesday in a letter from Yang Hyong-Sup, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the north’s Supreme People’s Assembly, to his south Korean counterpart, Speaker Kim Jae-Sun of the national assembly.

The letter suggested that a joint south-north parliamentary meeting be held within the month of august before the start of the Seoul Olympics so that it could discuss the issues of the south’s invitation of the north to the Seoul games and the north’s idea of co-host.

Observations here, however, suspect that the north’s +willingness to discuss their Olympic participation+ might be a mere propaganda rhetoric intended only to keep Seoul Olympic organizers troubled over the issue of Pyongyang’s participation until the very last minutes.


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The observers noted that their offer to discuss the north’s +idea of co-hosting along with the south’s invitation of the north could be a trick with the excuse of which they would torpedo any talks once they find it less helpful to them.

The observations stressed that +co-host+ was out of the question from the beginning as it runs squarely counter to the IOC Charter that allows an Olympiad only a single city, apart from whether the north has the ability to stage mammoth international games.

Saying that the only way the north could take part in the Seoul games is for them to agree to holding a few events offered by the IOC, the observers said there is almost no chance for their participation as they have already pronounced their rejection of the IOC mediatory plan.

and, the observers virtually ruled out any last-minute about[-]face on the part of north Korea, reasoning that to agree to the IOC plan, north Korean should allow a 30,000-strong Olympic family to freely travel back and forth between the two sides of Korea acithe dvz [sic], a fact totally unthinkable in view of the unprecedentedly tight-closed society of the north, which allows only limited contact with the outside world.
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When north Korea first proposed a south-north parliamentary meeting last July 21, the south decided to promote it in the belief that it could serve to help improve the strained inter-Korean relationship, though it was doubtful if such a meeting of nearly 1,000 persons could be effective in discussing and resolving delicate political issues like those now pending between the two sides of Korea.

In particular, it was noted that the north Korean parliament, Supreme People’s Assembly, was filled with those handpicked by the Workers’ (communist) Party, a legislature which is in fact a rubber stamp passing bills always unanimously as suggested by the party or the regime.

Reacting to the north Korean proposal, national assembly leaders decided to promote a south-north parliamentary delegates meeting in the first place to discuss procedural matters of a parliamentary meeting.

But, as if to underscore their ulterior motives, Ho Dam, a secretary of the Workers’ Party Central Committee, in a press release Tuesday rejected the idea of a delegates meeting asserting that there is no time to have +fruitless+ preliminary contacts, and that +crucial matters concerning the fate of the nation cannot be left to small groups of people.+


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The observers said that all in all the north Korean overture seems designed to reap propaganda gains in parliamentary talks taking advantage of the diverse voices that have arisen loudly since the democratization process has gotten off the ground in the south.

Noting that despite the ulterior schemes of the north, the south has resolved to push inter-Korean talks and exchanges for the sake of national reconciliation, the observers said that the future of south-north dialogue and exchanges hinges on how north Korea would respond to the south’s bona-fide approach.


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