SEOUL, Reuter: North Korea is ‘expected to boycott the Soul Olympics but a record number of countries will take part in the games, the first in 12 years unmarred by east ‘or west bloc boycotts, games organizers said on Friday.

“We expect some 160 of the 167 member countries of the Olympic movement to take part in this year’s games”, said Park Dae Won, head of the International Affairs section in the Seoul Olympic Organizing Committee (SLOOC).

Park and the previous record for entries was set in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics when 140 teams competed but the Soviet Union and 14 other Communist nations stayed out in retaliation for the USS. led boycott of the 1980 Moscow Games,

The 1980 boycott was in protest at the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan in 1979.

“North Korea is expected to be the only country to boycott the Seoul Olympics for political reasons”, Park said, adding several other countries would not come to Seoul probably because they had no Olympic standard athletes,

Organizers said the Soviet Union, China and their allies had expressed willingness to accept the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) invitations to the Games before the January: 17 deadlines. Hungry, East Germany, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Poland have already announced their participation.

They said the Slocc already had official notification of acceptance from. 143 countries.

South Korea officials have said Seoul will try to leave the door open for North Korean participation but the two sides are unlikely to reach a compromise on North Korean demands to cost the games.

MOSCOW, Reuter: The Soviet Union announced on Monday that it would take part in the Olympic Games in Seoul, heralding the first athletic clash between. The super powers at a Summer Olympics for 12 years.

The United States and the Soviet Union last competed at the Montreal Summer Olympics in 1976.

Seoul appears destined to become the first Summer Olympics without a major boycott since Munich in 1972.

Twenty-three African nations boycotted Montreal after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) refused to expel New Zealand for sending a rugby team to South Africa,

PEKING: China has decided to take part in the Seoul Olympic Games and its athletics are already preparing for the competition, Chinese sources said on Monday.

Peking is expected to also call for North Korea to be allowed to host several Olympic events when it officially confirms its participation this week, Western diplomats said.

“It would only be a gesture’ to save North Korean feelings,” a diplomat commented. China has had close ties with North Korea since the Korean war and does not recognize the Seoul government.

Article extracted from this publication >> January 15, 1988