Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro 'Very Sad' AT DPRK Olympics Boycott

OW1009125888 Tokyo KYODO in English 1158 GMT 10 Sep 88

[by Paul Eckert and William R. May]

[Text] Seoul, Sept. 10 KYODO--Cuban President Fidel Castro held out hope
throughout the summer that North Korea would relent and join the Olympic
Games in Seoul, the president of the Association of National Olympic
Committees (ANOC) said on Saturday.

Mario Vazquez-Rana of Mexico, who made a secret trip to Pyongyang at the
behest of Castro in June, also portrayed the Cuban leader as "very, very
sad" when talks with North Korean leader Kim II-song did not produce a

Vazquez-Rana told KYODO NEWS SERVICES how he was urged by Castro to visit
the North Korean capital early this summer when talks between Seoul and
Pyongyang over the staging of the 1988 Summer Games reached a stalemate.

South Korea had already agreed to a proposal by the International Olympic
Committee to allow Pyongyang to stage all or part of five sport events,
while North Korea insisted that it be made an equal cohost.

The North Korean leader, by that time, had given indications that he would
not receive any high-level IOC officials, but Castro assured Vazquez-Rana
that "Kim II-song wishes to speak to you."

In the course of several meetings with receptive North Korean officials and
an hour-long talk with Kim, Vazquez-Rana proposed several solutions to the
Seoul-Pyongyang deadlock.

The sports-related talks were very friendly, according to Vazquez-Rana, but
he added that "with Kim II-song, it was two minutes sports and 10 minutes

Kim pointedly criticized what he called a "U.S.-Japan-South Korea mafia"
for its attempt to isolate North Korea by conspiring to ensure that Seoul
would win the bid for the 1988 games, Vazquez-Rana said.

After failing to reach an agreement with Kim, the ANOC head left Pyongyang
realizing that "more than settling the dispute, Kim wanted to entertain the
world with a series of proposals."

Meeting again with Castro, Vazquez-Rana said he could sense the Cuban
leader's deep sadness at the failure of the talks.

Vazquez-Rana concluded that, despite political statements supporting
Pyongyang, "in the bottom of their hearts, Castro and the Cuban sports
peoples have a great desire to come to the Seoul Games."