A spokesman for the International Olympic Committee said yesterday that only an "act of war" would be grounds for removing the 1988 Summer Olympics from Seoul, and U.S. Olympic Committee President Robert Helmick said the U.S. team will attend the Games unless the safety of its athletes is threatened.

IOC spokesman Michele Verdier said the current political demonstrations in South Korea, some of them involving violent confrontations with police, have made "absolutely no change" in the IOC's plans to hold the Games in Seoul from Sept. 15 to Oct. 4, 1988.

Verdier said the IOC's position "is quite clear" regarding the Games. "The Games have been awarded to Seoul in '81 and there is absolutely no change in our position," she told the Associated Press.

Helmick, traveling with a delegation in South Korea, said that although the USOC would not send a team if it was in any danger, he expected the situation to be controlled by the opening of the Games.

"We will assess the situation in August and September of 1988," Helmick told the wire service. "As we do for any Games, we would not send a team anywhere if a team was in jeopardy.

"We are satisfied the situation will be well in hand by the Olympic Games," he continued. "We are continuing to prepare to be here in September 1988.

"We are prepared to cancel the trip if the safety of the team is in any way in question, which means flying into the airport, going from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the venue," he said.

IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch told reporters in Toronto yesterday that he was concerned because of the recent troubles in Seoul but that the Games would go on as scheduled.

"I am sure that the games will be held in Seoul -- not only that but that they will be the best games ever," he said. "I am always concerned . . . but I always must be very, very optimistic."

U.S. Olympic officials said the scheduled opening of the Games is so far in the future there is no immediate concern.

"We're not going to address hypothetical situations," said Mike Moran, a USOC spokesman in Colorado Springs. "The Games are 15 months away. All of this is a good piece away."

U.S. Olympic officials said political situations are matters over which they have no control. "It's an internal problem in {South} Korea, and it's something they have to resolve themselves," said Anita DeFrantz, the U.S. representative to the IOC.

"There is quite a bit of adequate time for the Koreans to address the situation," Moran said. "We will watch the developments and make our decisions accordingly."

Protests against the government of South Korea President Chun Doo Hwan have intensified in recent weeks, led by students seeking to remove Chun from office.

Tuesday, more than 40,000 students from 57 universities were involved in demonstrations, according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.

A spokesman for the South Korean Embassy said yesterday in Washington that the government has had "no contact with the IOC or USOC" regarding the political situation. DeFrantz said South Korean Olympic Games organizers have been reporting weekly to the executive board of the IOC for a considerable time.

Verdier said the only provision in the Olympic Charter for changing the site of the Games, once awarded, "is an act of war." When asked if that means war against an outside force or civil war, Verdier indicated that would be up to the IOC to interpret.

Helmick said the USOC was monitoring the political situation "day by day, month by month."

North Korean officials were quoted this week by Yugoslavia's Tanjug news agency as saying they were building facilities to host the entire Games next summer if the political situation in the south deteriorates.

Alan Baker, NBC vice president for media/Olympics, said NBC would be "guided by the position of the Olympic Committee and USOC," and that "the feeling, or the hope, is that the situation will resolve itself."

Kevin Monaghan, a spokesman for NBC, which owns the rights to televise the Games, said yesterday from New York that network representatives met at a conference of international broadcasters in Seoul last week and that, "It really was business as usual.

"I'm not trying to downplay what's going on in the rest of the country, but we haven't been affected."

The network, scheduled to carry 179 1/2 hours of programming, has no plans to alter its coverage, Monaghan said. "The only good side of this is that it's happening now, instead of in September 1988," he said.

NBC, which paid about $300 million for the Olympic television rights, expects to have a "full-time presence in Seoul sometime this summer," Monaghan said.

Yesterday, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a potential candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, said on "Good Morning America" that he was not yet asking for a U.S.-sponsored pullout from the Games, but that such an action was a possibility.

"We simply said unless something happens we would call for a protest and that is the first step to a boycott," Jackson said. "We're not calling for a boycott yet."