North Korea probably won't be sending athletes to the Seoul Summer Olympics, and their terrorists probably won't be going either, according to a South Korean diplomat visiting Salt Lake City.
Deputy Consul General Pil Joo Sung, with the South Korean Consulate in San Francisco, said recent statements made by the Soviet Union and People's Republic of China warning against terrorist activities should dissuade North Korea from trying to disrupt the Games. Both countries have said they will send their athletes to the Games.Sung was in Salt Lake City for the U.S. Olympic Gymnastic Trials, where the Olympic host nation is sponsoring an information booth.
"It is sufficient warning to them (North Korea) so that they would not attempt that kind of sabotage attack," Sung said. However, Sung would not rule out the north using surrogates, such as Libya, to disrupt the Games, which begin Sept. 17.
He believes that visitors and athletes will be in no danger.
"We have a highly trained antiterrorist force," Sung said."They will be prepared to respond to danger in any location."
He said commitments from American military forces stationed on the divided peninsula, to help in the event of terrorist activities during the Olympics, will also act as a deterrent.
While the door has not been closed on having North Korean athletes participate in the Games, the country's futile demand that it host some of the events and have a "name" co-sponsorship will likely keep the athletes away.
"The most difficult hassle is that North Korea wishes to use the word co-sponsorship for the Games they are going to have. The International Olympic Committee prohibits that," Sung said. "It should be only one sponsorship for the city that has been designated."
Sung also says the Olympic visitors are not likely to see demonstrating students, which he said have been calmed since the transfer of power to President Roh Tae Woo.
"The students don't have a big stake to raise as complaint against this government. At this stage the students' sentiment has rather subsided," Sung said.
The Olympics will bring South Korea into full membership in the world community, Sung said. He hopes it will be yet another positive step, like the recent first peaceful transition of presidential power and first parliamentary elections in a generation.
He believes that Roh's democratic reforms and continued economic growth will make that status possible.
"Now we know we are great. We are mature now and ready to peel away from an inferiority complex. Now we have confidence in ourselves as a world community member," Sung said.
However, Sung admits that there are problems, including South Korea's huge trade deficit with the United States and rising nationalism that embodies anti-American sentiment among radical students.
Some observers have speculated that recent freedoms granted the press and opposition politicians may disappear after the Olympics. That will not happen, Sung said.
"I am optimistic for the future," Sung said. "The Korean government wishes freedom and democratic reforms."
He said his government is also committed to opening its doors to foreign products, noting the recent reduction in tariffs on automobiles, machinery and tobacco.