LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- North Korea's bid to co-host the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games foundered Wednesday against unyielding opposition from South Korea and International Olympic Committee leaders.
An IOC delegation, spearheaded by IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch, remained firm in its backing of Seoul after separate meetings with National Olympic Committee members from both Koreas.
This second round of talks, which end Thursday with a joint session, is unlikely to resolve the major differences which existed when the sides met last October.
Berthold Beitz, one of the three IOC vice-presidents, said, 'We told the North Koreans it was Seoul who bid for the Games and not Pyongyang.'
First vice-president Alexandru Siperco made it clear the IOC would not renege on its decision to award the Games to Seoul at the 1981 Baden-Baden Congress.
'We have our obligations and we have the Olympic Charter,' he said.
Chong-Ha Kim, leader of South Korea's six man delegation, said there were still matters to discuss, but there was no prospect of North Korea co-hosting the Games and the idea of fielding one unified Korean team was also a dead issue.
'We rejected both North Korean proposals and the IOC delegates supported us,' he said.
'If they (North Korea) withdraw their claims and stick to the rules of the Olympic Charter, we will consider staging some preliminary events in North Korea.'
Yu Sun Kim, president of the North Korean Olympic Committee, claimed earlier that a jontly-held Games was essential in order to 'save the Olympic movement from a crisis, ensure the success of the 1988 Games and pave the way for the re-unification of Korea.'
Yu Sun Kim also said the idea of a united Korean team was not a new proposal, having been discussed with the IOC in 1963 and 1964.
The North Koreans had been in an optimistic mood after their morning meeting with the IOC delegation comprising Samaranch, the three IOC vice-presidents -- Siperco, Ashwini Kumar and Beitz -- Sheik Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, President of the Olympic Council of Asia, and Raymond Gafner, the IOC administrator.
'There were positive aspects, but also some negative aspects,' Yu Sun Kim told a press conference following the morning meeting.
An IOC proposal that both Koreas parade at the same time at the official opening ceremony was unsatisfactory.
'We should march as one team behind one flag and have one national anthem,' Yu Sun Kim said. 'We could come to a joint agreement on an appropriate flag and tune for 1988.'
The idea of holding some events in North Korea received a mixed reaction. 'We could never accept holding preliminary events in North Korea,' Yu Sin Kim said, indicating the staging of some finals would be more acceptable.
'Seoul must adopt a more flexible attitude.'
But the North Korean official stressed Pyongyang still called for the co-hosting of the Games.
'We would like a 50-50 share, but if it was 12 events in Seoul and 11 in Pyongyang we would not mind,' he said.
However, the mood changed among the North Koreans after the second meeting with the IOC, which followed South Korea's replies to some of the proposals. The IOC, which is seeking a formula to persuade North Korea to take part in the Seoul Games, is likely to suggest at least another round of talks to bring the two sides closer together, although, as one official said, 'Time is running out.'
North Korea has found itself out on a limb following earlier forecasts of a possible Communist boycott if the 1988 Olympics was not jointly staged.
Although a meeting of Socialist sports officials in Hanoi last November recommended the IOC consider North Korea's proposals, there was no hint of any boycott threat.