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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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Demise of Detente in Korea, 1973-1975

This is a collection of documents about the end of the inter-Korean dialogue and the demise of detente on the Korean Peninsula after the signing of the historic July 4th, 1972, Joint Communique.

  • April 12, 1973

    Telegram from Pyongyang, SECRET, No.061.121, Urgent

    A Romanian diplomat reports on the second session of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly. The meeting focused on increasing the state budget to accomplish the 6-year plan with particular focus on heavy industry, machinery, raw material extraction, and energy production. The meeting also noted the need to increase the standard of living for the North Korean people. Nonetheless, no mention was made on collaborating with the outside world for economic and technological cooperation.

  • April 23, 1973

    Telegram from Pyongyang, No.061.150, Urgent, SECRET

    The Romanians expect tensions to rise in inter-Korean relations after North Korea is accused of sending a group of spies to South Korea. Pyongyang is unable to convincingly deny its direct role in sending the spies and is called duplicitous by Seoul. The report suggests that recent events have acted as fodder for the argument on why US troops should stay on the Korean Peninsula

  • May 02, 1973

    Letters between Shail Upadhya and C.V. Narasimhan

    Shail Upadhya sends Narasimhan a letter containing number of issues including DPRK's membership to WHO and rumor on Lee Hu-rak' house arrest.

  • May 05, 1973

    Telegram from the First Directorate to Washington, DC, No.01/04493

    North Korea asks Romania to forward a letter to the president of the US Senate, Spiro T. Agnew, and separately, the Speaker of the House, Carl Albert. The letter, adopted by the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly, will request the US to withdraw its forces from the Korean Peninsula, terminate military aid to South Korea, and dismantle the UN Commission for the Unification and Reconstruction of Korea.

  • May 08, 1973

    Letters between Shail Upadhya and C.V. Narasimhan

    Upadhya sends Narasimhan a report on his conversation with ROK Foreign Minister.

  • May 14, 1973

    Telegram from Beijing, No.059.484, Urgent, SECRET

    Pyongyang forwards ideas for exchange of commerce, people and goods between North and South Korea. These include bringing surplus labor in the South to work in North Korea, jointly creating irrigation system using North Korean expertise, etc. However, South Korea remains distrustful of the motives of North Korea.

  • June 07, 1973

    Telegram from Pyongyang to Bucharest, SECRET, Regular, No. 061.224

    Popa notes the rift between the two Koreas since the North-South joint declaration in 1972 as Seoul considers North Korea's attempts to join organizations where South Korea is already a member as a means to undermine its authority.

  • June 16, 1973

    Telegram from Pyongyang, No.061.238, Urgent, SECRET

    Romanian officials report on the third session of the North-South Coordination Committee (NSCC) in Seoul. Due to differences in each side's ideas on cross-border cooperation and the organization of NSCC, the meeting ended without notable accomplishments. Both sides blame each other for espousing two separate Koreas.

  • June 29, 1973

    Telegram from Pyongyang, No.061.253, Urgent, SECRET

    North Korean officials blame pressure from Japan and the US as reasons why South Korean representatives are not receptive to the North's proposals in the North-South Coordination Committee meetings. The official believes that Seoul is attempting to slow down negotiations with Pyongyang because South Korea is unstable. Pyongyang worries that Seoul's plan for joint accession to the US will enshrine the division on the peninsula.

  • July 07, 1973

    Letter from Kim Il Sung to Enver Hoxha

    Kim Il Sung emphasizes the history of Korea as one single country and lays out a five point program for the peaceful reunification. He, moreover, addresses the issue of admission to the UN and underscores that only a united Korea should become a member of this organization.

  • July 23, 1973

    Note On a Conversation with the Acting Hungarian Ambassador to the DPRK, Comrade Dr. Taraba, on 19 July 1973 in the Hungarian Embassy.

    Heo Dam briefs Dr. Taraba on South Korea's intention to apply for UN membership, North Korea's foreign relations with East and West Germany, and Kim Il Sung's new proposals on unification.

  • August, 1973

    Letter from Enver Hoxha to Kim Il Sung

    In this letter to Kim Il Sung, Enver Hoxha addresses issues surrounding the division and reunification of Korea, and offers his support to North Korea's reunification proposals.

  • August, 1973

    Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Note, No. 01/010124/73, Secret

    The document outlines Romania's position regarding the issue of unification of the Korean Peninsula. After a summary of inter-Korean negotiations thus far, the report concludes that the two Koreas are moving very slowly because both sides are attempting to gain advantage over the other. Nonetheless, Romania declares its firm support of the DPRK.

  • August 29, 1973

    Telegram from Pyongyang, No.061.360, Urgent, SECRET

    The document mentions a forthcoming North Korean condemnation of Kim Dae-jung's abduction in Tokyo by KCIA agents. The author states that the declaration will ask Lee Hu-rak to be removed from co-presidency of the North-South Coordination Committee. Pyongyang seeks Romanian support in publicizing the North Korean position.

  • August 30, 1973

    Text of August 29th Statement by Director Hu Rak Lee, Seoul Co-Chairman of the South-North Coordinating Committee regarding the South-North Dialogue

    Text of August 29th Statement by Director Hu Rak Lee, Seoul Co-Chairman of the South-North Coordinating Committee regarding the South-North Dialogue.

  • October 22, 1973

    Note on Conversation with Comrade Denisov, Counselor at USSR Embassy, on 12 October 1973 in the GDR Embassy

    A note on conversation covering North Korea's unification policy, a change of Kim Il Sung's personal adviser, the relationship between North Korea and Syria, and the importation of grains from Soviet Union.

  • October 30, 1973

    Memorandum on the Conversation between Kim Il Sung and Todor Zhivkov

    Todor Zhivkov, First Secretary of the Bulgarian Communist Party, reports on his meeting with Kim Il Sung. Zhivkov and Kim discussed global detente and the Cold War, Chinese-North Korean relations, collective security in Asia, North Korea's views of COMECON, Korean unification, and factionalism in the Korean Workers' Party.

  • November 03, 1973

    Telegram from Pyongyang to Bucharest, SECRET, Regular, No. 061.497

    Following the end of the inter-Korean dialogue, Zhivkov observes increased antagonism in the rhetoric of the North Koreans regarding unification paralleling the increasing tension between the two Koreas.

  • November 22, 1973

    Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry

    Diplomats of the Soviet Bloc discuss relations between the two Koreas, and what would be necessary for reunification. Sino-Korean relations, and Chinese military aid to the DPRK are also discussed.

  • December 06, 1973

    Telegram from Pyongyang to Bucharest, SECRET, No. 61.537

    The document describes how the North Koreans enthusiastically celebrated the consensus of Committee No. 1 over the Korean issue in the UN; however, Lazar believes that the Korean leadership has not actually grasped the full implications of the decision. In addition, the telegram describes how Pyongyang's attempt to reassert control over South Korean islands close to the North Korean shores in the Yellow Sea has created friction between the two countries. The author also mentions that North Korean support for the student movements in South Korea legitimized Seoul's harsher crackdown on the dissident movements.