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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 10, 1971


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    Abridged in order to more succinctly focus on matters of Inter-Korean relations.
    "Minutes of Conversation on the Occasion of the Party and Government Delegation on behalf of the Romanian Socialist Republic to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea," June 10, 1971, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archives of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party, 43/1971. Obtained and translated for NKIDP by Eliza Gheorghe
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Participants to the talks:

- on the Romanian side: Comrade Nicolae Ceausescu, Secretary General of the Romanian Communist Party, President of the State Council of the Romanian Socialist Republic (RSR), Ion Gheorghe Maurer, member of the Executive Committee of the Permanent Presidium of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party (CC RCP), President of the Council of Ministers, Manea Manescu, member of the Executive Committee, of the Permanent Presidium, Secretary of the CC RCP, Vice-president of the State Council, Dumitru Popa, member of the Executive Committee of the CC RCP, first secretary of the Bucharest Party City Committee, Mayor of Bucharest, Ion Iliescu, deputy member of the Executive Committee, secretary of the CC RCP, George Macovescu, member of the CC PCR, first deputy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Aurel Malnasan, Romanian Ambassador to Pyongyang, Emilian Dobrescu and Constantin Mitea, deputy members of the CC RCP, councilors of the CC RCP.

- On the Korean side: Comrade Kim Il Sung, Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (KWP), President of the Ministers' Cabinet of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Choe Yong-geon [Choe Yong Gon], member of the Political Committee, secretary of the KWP CC, President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, Kim Il, member of the Political Committee, secretary of the CC KWP, first Vice-premier of the Council of Ministers, Pak Seong-cheol, member of the Political Committee of the CC KWP, second Vice-president of the Ministers' Cabinet, Oh Jinu, member of the Political Committee, secretary of the KWP CC, Joint Chief of Staff of the People's Army, Yang Hyeong-seop, alternate member of the Political Committee, secretary of the KWP CC, Jeong Juntaek, alternate member of the Political Committee, Vice-president of the Ministers' Cabinet, Heo Dam, member of the Political Committee, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kim Yongnam, member of the Political Committee, first deputy of the Foreign Section, Chief of the CC KWP, and Kang Yangseop, ambassador of the DPRK to the RSR.

The talks began at 10:30.
Comrade Kim Il Sung: Please allow me, on behalf of the Central Committee and the Ministers' Cabinet, to welcome the party and government delegation of the Romanian Socialist Republic, led by Comrade Nicolae Ceausescu.
As we haven't had talks in ages, I think we have a lot of issues to discuss and to inform each other of. I believe this meeting will provide us with the occasion to improve the cooperation between our parties and our countries.
We would like to allow Comrade Ceausescu to start first, to present the matters that interest him.

Comrade Nicolae Ceausescu: I would like to thank you for the extremely warm welcome and, at the same time, I would like, on behalf of the Central Committee, State Council and the Romanian government, to cordially greet the party and state leadership of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, led by Comrade Kim Il Sung.
I completely agree with Comrade Kim Il Sung that we must exchange opinions and information [on a wide variety of topics] on the activity of our parties, our governments and our peoples in matters such as the socialist construction, bilateral relations, and other issues of common interest. I think this would be very useful.
I thought that as guests we shall first listen to what the hosts have to say.

Comrade Kim Il Sung: We have this custom of giving the floor first to our guests.

Comrade Nicolae Ceausescu: Indeed, we have this custom too, but we thought Korea had other customs.

I shall start by briefly presenting a report on the problems of the socialist construction in Romania. [...]

The conversation ended at 12:50 PM.
Discussions were resumed at 4 PM.

Comrade Kim Il Sung: Concerning party activity, I would like to say a few words. At the Fifth Congress of Korean Worker's Party, we counted 1.6 million members. Among the main attributions of the party, there is the duty to strengthen the leadership capacity of party organizations, especially within industrial enterprises. A new feature in the statute of the Korean Worker's Party, after the Fifth Congress, is that we now have members of the Central Committee, alternate members of the Central Committee, and candidates for the positions of alternate member of the Central Committee. These candidates are capable members of the party within enterprises and other work places, activists from the provinces and counties. This enables us to be aware, throughout our meetings, of what party members have to say, through these candidates.

Another current top priority of our party is the ideological revolution. We are a divided, dismantled country. Half of our territory is exploited by the bourgeoisie and the landowning class. We are not as united as you are. We have liberated half of the country but the other half is still under occupation. The old generation was replaced. People living nowadays don't know how capitalists look like. They don't know what Japanese imperialism means, they are not aware of American imperialism.

All these are [significant] issues for us. Those who carried out the revolution in the past are old now. We now have new elements in the system who did not have to confront the same hardships and whose life is relatively easy. We wouldn't have had the same problems and we wouldn't have been so concerned if the situation in South Korea had been different. Within the army, concerning the leaders of large units and even divisions, they are well trained against the Japanese and the Americans since they fought against them, but the younger cadres in the army are not well trained for direct confrontation. The ones who fought against the Americans are already old by now. These young cadres don't know how Americans look; they heard about them from stories. They saw them in movies, [but] they don't know much and haven't lived in hardship. Small unit commanders don't know that during battles our soldiers had to wear shoes made of straw. They are not aware of certain economic aspects like the tithe, rent, and so on. For all of these, education on class-struggle is necessary. In our case, education on class-struggle is emphasized less and less. Unless we manage to increase our hatred against exploiters, against the Japanese and the Americans, we will face hardship in the case of a new war.
Concerning the activity of our party, we are faced with some important problems like the ideological education in the class-struggle spirit. Moreover, we are striving to include in this education the transformation of human beings according to the model of the worker -- to educate the youth and other social classes on a worker-oriented mindset. In addition, we need to pay attention to the intelligentsia.

Currently, in South Korea, the intelligentsia is carrying out revolutionary activities. South Korean intellectuals are studying our concerns for developing our society. They are very concerned about them; they want to see what our attitude towards the intelligentsia is, so that when the socialist revolution would triumph there, they want to know whether the new socialist system will continue to use them or will eliminate them. For this reason, we are striving to educate this layer of the intelligentsia in the spirit of labor and insure that it will last infinitely. Only in this way we will manage to attract the South Korean intelligentsia on our side and we will manage to consolidate this common front in the view of unifying [the country]. We are striving, as part of the general activity of the party, to achieve the monolithic unity of the party. The decisive role and force of the party were obvious both in the economic activity of the country and in the army. All problems are discussed by the party and all decisions are taken by it.

In our case, too, I must confess, we eliminated the director-based system in economic units. We discuss and solve all problems within the party committee; therefore, party committees have been enlarged recently. I believe this is the most suitable method for our country.

In the remaining time, I will stop talking about the situation in North Korea and I will switch to the situation in South Korea.

Before this, I would like to add one more thing: within our party there were some divergences of opinion, but these problems were solved.

As you know, geographically we are surrounded by the Japanese, the Chinese, the Americans and the Soviets. We are surrounded by three great powers and their influence can be felt.

Comrade Nicolae Ceausescu: Therefore, you are in the best position!

Comrade Kim Il Sung: For this reason, within our party we have a principle-based system, that of our own policies, irrespective of the influence exerted by one party or another. For this reason, we are increasing this ideological activity in our party too. We do not know any other ideology but ours. This principle was consolidated with the help of an ideology in accordance with the conditions and activities that take place in our country. Of course, our party does not reject the experience of other parties or other countries, but we try to take only the best from others, only what is necessary to us; we are tasting, and what we don't like, we don't take; why should we consume something bitter when our metabolism is already accustomed to what we have; if it's not [accustomed], then it's not, but this should not be qualified as nationalism.
We consider that the achievement of the revolution in good conditions in our country is an achievement for the global revolution. Our revolution is a part of the global revolution, but the Korean revolution must be carried out by the Koreans themselves. You support the principle of autonomy. So do we. Juche is exactly the same thing.

We had a few problems of principle within our party but we solved them and currently, our party is united; all party members salute and follow the party's policies.

Allow me to tell you a few words about the situation in South Korea. I won't talk about it for too long though.
The problem, in general, is unification. There are some people who blame us for abandoning the unification of the country through peaceful means. We did not give up this option, this is actually our guiding principle. If we don't manage to unify the country by peaceful means, we don't envisage another solution. The main problem in South Korea and the things that have to be solved there are supposed to be the responsibility of the South Koreans. The way to solve this problem in South Korea depends on the concrete circumstances and on the respective opportunities. That it will be peaceful, that it will be revolutionary or not, all this depends on the growing revolutionary impetus in South Korea. We do not want to force anything; we don't want to rush things, because we cannot exert any pressure.

South Korea is linked to Japan through agreements; they signed such agreements with the Americans as well -- and these are military agreements. We have friendship and mutual assistance agreements with the People's Republic of China and with the Soviet Union. The outbreak of a conflict between the North and the South will definitely involve the Soviet Union and China, as well as Japan and the United States. If we are not careful enough, we could trigger a global-scale war out of an Asian conflict. The peoples of the world will not welcome this and they don't want this to happen; neither the People's Republic of China nor the Soviet Union wants to get involved in such a confrontation. To our mind, the South Koreans are not more willing to enter such a clash; Americans don't want to continue this fight. The Americans let us know that it's not their intention to fight the Koreans again. They transmitted their intention through Podgorny. We then asked Podgorny to tell the Americans that we didn't want it either, but to be careful and keep away from us, because if they create situations like Pueblo and E.C. 121, then we are entitled to capturing them or to shooting them down. We keep our business to our territory, we don't do it in the waters of the United States of America. It's obvious that unless they came into our territorial waters, we couldn't have captured or sunken their vessels.

There are other comrades that blame us for increasing tensions in the region, but we are telling you that we don't need something like that. If we are asked about the probability of war, we could say yes, such a probability exists. If there hadn't been the conflicts we mentioned, if vessels like the Pueblo hadn't crossed into our territorial waters, if American spy planes like the EC 121 [hadn't flown over our territory], we of course would not have reacted like that. When Comrade Podgorny came and told us this, we advised him that instead of telling us that we were increasing tensions in the region, he should go and talk to the Americans and tell them to stop acting like they had.

Should the Americans withdraw from South Korea, there wouldn't be any reasons for such incidents, because the South Koreans do not have the material and military basis for such things, and therefore, the main reason for such a conflict would not exist.

Regarding the existence of the danger of a war, the reason is just one: the presence of the Americans in South Korea. They know we neighbor the People's Republic of China, the Soviet Union and that we are close with other countries of the world, so they wouldn't dare to do anything, especially because they have the experience of the past war.

If the Americans pull out of South Korea, the possibility of a war becomes limited.

Except for this, what other danger is there? There would be that of Japanese militarism. The Americans have had the sad experience of a war with us; they have the one in Vietnam too and they can only envisage technical support for the South Koreans but they don't even consider the human casualties involved. Nixon said that the place of Americans in South Korea should be taken over by the Japanese. Concerning the revival of Japanese militarism, there are many elements pointing to it. We have a lot of materials proving it. I don't have the time and I don't intend to present them to you. Sato made his intentions to dominate and rule over the territory of South Korea clear on several occasions. Park Chung Hee is considering taking advantage of the Japanese and getting economic and military assistance on their backs and when he feels ready, he will attack North Korea. This is his mindset, in his subconscious. In his mind, a certain plan emerged, namely to defeat communism and to unify the country. Therefore, this would be the plan of Park Chung Hee. But the problem should be put this way: can communism be defeated? I think this is impossible. He himself admits that for the time being, communism cannot be defeated. He is making 7 or even 8-year plans regarding the development of the economy, the strengthening of the army, and then, when he feels more powerful than the North, he will pursue the unification of the country. In other words, unification is not possible now. When will it be possible? He says that it will be possible when the South is more powerful than the North economically and militarily. My opinion is that this is only a dream of his. I don't know what he is thinking; does he imagine that we will be sleeping and not developing in the meantime? Therefore, we can say that we didn't get scared by his slogan to defeat communism and unify the country.
What we salute is the successful fighting against fascism that is currently taking place in South Korea, for democracy and for the democratization of the entire social life. It is likely that Park Chung Hee will be overthrown and genuine democracy will be established. There has been a strong fight for democracy in South Korea in recent years. We are aware that this fighting cannot be successfully completed through elections, because Americans are in South Korea and there is the United Nations Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea. Under these conditions, even the democratization process is hard. Of course, the possibilities for democratization will increase if the Americans withdraw. In the past years, there have been several attempts in the South. In 1959 there were some slogans for the unification of the country and for the creation of a progressive party. This was the case back in the day of Rhee Syngman when the progressive party took part in elections and lost by a margin of a few hundred thousand votes. Following the election fraud in 1959, students went out in the streets to protest. On April 19 1960, students' riots took over the entire country, which led to the overthrow of the Rhee Syngman government. Chang Myeon took over his position. He realized he couldn't govern in the same manner as Rhee Syngman and then he turned a little bit more democratic. In those circumstances, the students and the youth exerted some pressures from within, started asking for visits to Panmunjeom and to ask to meet with representatives of the North in there to discuss the problem of the unification of the country.
The Americans became aware of the danger and organized a military coup, which resulted in the assumption of power by none other than Park Chung Hee. In the South Korean Constitution, it is stipulated that the president in office cannot run for president more than two times in a row. Park Chung Hee modified the Constitution and run for president for a third time. In this situation, opposition parties boycotted the elections and then he ran in the elections by himself. Although he managed to modify the Constitution, he said he could relinquish his position at any given time; however the recent elections proved otherwise. Opposition parties joined forces and formed a democratic front -- a progressive one, a front for the defense of democracy.

Students organized themselves, all mass organizations did so. Therefore, a powerful united front was formed, so as to eliminate Park Chung Hee and to elect another president.

In this context, Kim Baegyu emerged as the president of the new Progressive Party. He even had some good slogans, which resembled our position regarding the unification of the country. He promised that if he became president, he would solve all conflicts in the area and he would advocate the unification with the North; secondly, he would reform the police force and the internal intelligence apparatus; he would reduce military forces and he would install a civilian government; he would reduce the penetration of foreign investments, we would protect and even stimulate the development of national capital. Concerning foreign policy, we would like to have good relations not only with the United States and with Japan, but to establish relations with the People's Republic of China and with the Soviet Union too. He offered wide democratic possibilities to all mass and community organizations in South Korea. There was only one thing missing from his platform: the pull out of the Americans from South Korea. In spite of it, his platform managed to mobilize the South Korean population. It was even feared that Park Chung Hee would lose the last month's election.

In these electoral circumstances, in the city of Seoul, the new candidate managed to get 80% of the votes; he got many votes in the country side too, but eventually when Park Chung Hee saw that his presidency is under threat, he mobilized the police and the army and falsified the results of the election, winning by a margin of 1.2 million votes.

After the presidential election, the parliamentary elections took place. Within these elections too, the electoral fighting was very strong. It was likely again that Park Chung Hee won a minority of the votes, but he proceeded with the falsification of the elections again. During the parliamentary elections, Park Chung Hee got 113 votes while the democratic forces got 89 votes.

Judging from all these, it ensues that the fight for democracy is growing more and more powerful in South Korea. Over a period of almost 2 months, students and the youth in general got involved into bitter fights, going out in the streets and protesting.

What could be the conclusions from what has been said until now? If the Americans continue to stay in South Korea, victory through elections is not possible. For this reason, the problem of the unification of the country is linked to this issue. In conclusion, it can be said that, in the absence of the Americans in South Korea or of any other foreign forces, the South Korean people could install a democratic progressive government, through its own forces, and the establishment of such a government would draw us very close to each other, so that, without fighting, we could unify the country. It is not that we don't want it. We believe this can be achieved once the Americans are gone, excluding the possibility that the Japanese replace them. Actually, the Japanese are infiltrating into South Korea by other means, such as the Japanese investments in South Korea. Sato was the one to enjoy the victory of Park Chung Hee in the presidential elections the most. Park Chung Hee was a general in the Japanese army during the Japanese occupation. For this reason, he is very well regarded by Sato. Sato declared that he would be present on the July 1st ceremony for the presidential re-inauguration of Park Chung Hee. At Seoul University and at other higher education institutions, on the occasion of a plenary session, a declaration against the participation of Sato at the ceremony was released.

This is the situation in South Korea. Regarding the support of revolutionary activities in South Korea, regarding unification, you are aware of the declaration adopted recently at the Supreme People's Assembly of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Should Park Chung Hee be overthrown, we will be able to discuss the unification of our country with anyone who desires this. This is the current situation. The evolution of the situation in South Korea depends on the struggle of democratic forces; on the [struggle of the] South Korean people.

Among the population of South Korea, the spirit of hatred against the Americans has taken root and is spreading. Should the revolutionary forces in South Korea intensify, the ones that are more likely to intervene are not the Americans, but the Japanese.

Between 1894-1895, the Sino-Japanese war took place; between 1904-1905 the Japanese-Russian wars took place. In those circumstances, a peasant uprising took place. The 1894 riot was the biggest one in history. Within the Korean leadership back then, there were three groups -- I am referring to the feudal leadership: a pro-Japanese group, a pro-Chinese group and a pro-Russian group. So, since 1894, there has been this attraction towards the three parties. In these conditions, the Japanese were called for help to suppress the peasant uprising; the pro-Chinese group asked for China's help and this sparked the Sino-Japanese war. The current situation in South Korea can be compared to the one back then. Even if the Americans pull out, a South Korean rebellion would be suppressed by the Japanese.
In 1969, Sato released a televised interview through which he expressed his desire to have the Japanese replace the Americans in the surrounding areas in Asia. He made a similar statement in September 1970 too. Moreover, Sato declared that since the Americans are cutting back on their military forces in South Korea, there is no alternative [for South Korea] but to accept Japan as the security guarantor.

I won't talk for too long about these tendencies in Japanese militarism, but I would like to tell you that the Japanese conceived, together with the South Koreans, several action plans. One of these is the "three arrows plan"; there is also a "flying dragon plan", the "yellow bull plan." You must be aware that these are military plans. Currently, the Japanese are carrying out various military preparations, drills, in similar conditions to what the South Koreans are doing, with land forces, air forces and navy. Moreover, they built a strategic highway between Busan and Seoul so that they can more easily get from the South of Korea to the 38th parallel. The Japanese Joint Chiefs of Staff is in South Korea. Except for these high-rank visits, there are frequent visits of Japanese military cadres of all sorts to South Korea.

Concerning the penetration of foreign capital in South Korea, it is estimated that approximately 20% of the total foreign investment capital is Japanese. It can be stated that the Japanese will reserve their right to defend the capital they invested there. According to some estimates, 3-5.000 Japanese soldiers are in South Korea; they investigate the battle ground and according to certain maps they examine the best possibilities for carrying out battles. I could state that but for the present dictatorship, should an uprising occur, the greatest danger for South Korea currently is the Japanese.

There were statements that if the Americans allow the Japanese to take over South Korea, the Japanese would offer South Korea twice as much in military assistance as the Americans had.

It is common knowledge that any American withdrawal from South Korea will be made in close connection with the Japanese. Sato has an agreement with Nixon in this respect.

For this reason, we decisively fight against Japanese militarism. Of course, Japanese militarism cannot be mistaken for the entire Japanese people. We don't want to mistake it for the year 1894, [or] 1905, to mistake the people from back then with the present people, the level from back then with the current level. Of course, the situation in the years I referred to cannot be compared with the situation nowadays. Nowadays we have the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China and so on. The situation changed radically. We must be aware that just like with Federal Germany, which is a menace for Europe, Japan is a menace for Asia. Of course, in the future, we will improve our means for fighting against Japanese militarism.

In general, these were the problems I wanted to discuss with you regarding the situation in South Korea. Of course, if they are of interest to you and if you want us to, we could provide you with documentary materials so as not to extend our talks now.

How do you think we should proceed? Should we continue our discussions now or should we take a short break and then discuss bilateral relations and some aspects of the international situation?

Comrade Nicolae Ceausescu: Let's take a short break
After the break


Comrade Kim Il Sung: We understand your viewpoint and we appreciate it. I think these were the problems I wanted to raise with you. Of course, if there are any other problems you would like to discuss, we will have other opportunities for that. We still have a few days left.

Comrade Nicolae Ceausescu: I would like to thank you, Comrade Kim Il Sung, for the very interesting information that you shared with us and for the questions raised. In most problems, our viewpoints are the same or very similar; indeed, during the next couple of days, we can still discuss about some issues, we can deepen our understanding of some of them, we can clarify them.

Comrade Kim Il Sung: We shall do that.

Comrade Nicolae Ceausescu: Maybe we could also issue a communique, or at least start working on it.

Comrade Kim Il Sung: We shall do that too.

Comrade Nicolae Ceausescu: On our side, Comrade George Macovescu, deputy foreign minister, and Andrei Stefan, the first deputy of the International Affairs Department within the Party, will take part in the discussions.

Comrade Kim Il Sung: On our side, Comrade Heo Dam, the foreign minister, and Kim Yongnam, the first deputy of the International Affairs Division will take part.

Comrade Nicolae Ceausescu: There aren't any delicate issues at stake; therefore, the communique will be a positive one.

Comrade Kim Il Sung: We saw the joint communique you released together with the Chinese. We share their policy line so it will be easy. We could even make it simpler.
I suggest we stop here.

The discussions ended at 7:00 PM.

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