Sibling rivalry

SOUTH KOREA's Chun regime has been making political compromises. To quell student and middle-class protests and to promote Roh Tae Woo as a democratic successor to strong-man President Chun Doo Hwan, it has agreed to hold direct presidential elections, to free political prisoners, and to lift press curbs. No small motive for these steps, doubtless, is to ensure domestic tranquillity for the 1988 Olympic Games.

Now it is North Korea's turn to bend.

The International Olympic Committee has offered co-host North Korea the option of staging five events: archery, table tennis, preliminary soccer, women's volleyball, and the 100-kilometer cycling race. Weight lifting and wrestling could be added. Pyongyang has been holding out for a full third of the summer schedule. But it hasn't the facilities for more than has been tendered. And the IOC has a mid-September deadline for bargaining.

Pyongyang should accept its admittedly modest program share and get on with making the games a success. The North may suffer by comparison with its dynamo sibling to the South. But the games still offer the North Koreans a rare run in the sun of world citizenship.

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