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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 20, 1972


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    "Note on Information from DPRK Deputy Foreign Minister, Comrade Ri Man-seok, on 17 July 1972 between 16:40 and 18:00 hours in the Foreign Ministry ," July 20, 1972, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PolA AA, MfAA, C 951/76. Obtained for NKIDP by Bernd Schaefer and translated for NKIDP by Karen Riechert.
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GDR Embassy to DPRK

Pyongyang, 20 July 1972

N o t e

On Information from DPRK Deputy Foreign Minister, Comrade Ri Man-seok [Ri Man Sok],

on 17 July 1972 between 16:40 and 18:00 hours in the Foreign Ministry

The invitation had gone to the ambassadors and acting ambassadors from the Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia, the GDR, Hungary, Bulgaria, Mongolia, and Romania. An additional participant was the head of the DPRK Foreign Ministry’s 1st Department, Comrade Kim Jae-suk [Kim Jae Suk].

Comrade Ri Man-seok remarked at the beginning he has been tasked with informing the ambassadors and acting ambassadors present about the 4th Plenary Session of the KWP Central Committee and the current situation in Korea after the publication of the “Joint Declaration.”

Then, Comrade Ri Man-seok provided the following information based on a prepared written text:

The KWP 4th Plenary was held between 1 and 6 July. Two items to be discussed were on the agenda:

The implementation of the party’s policy on the peaceful unification of the country after the 3rd Plenary Session and questions how to proceed;Implementation of compulsory 10-grade-schooling.

Kim Il Sung spoke on the first issue. He talked about the work of the KWP Central Committee and the lower-level party organizations after the 3rd Plenary Session. Comrade Kim Il Sung gave the assignments for the unification of the fatherland. The plenum unanimously agreed that thanks to Kim Il Sung’s correct course, major progress has been made in the implementation of measures to unify the country. At the 3rd Plenary, Kim Il Sung provided the further course to unfold a major campaign for the independent and peaceful unification of the country in accordance with the international situation. The DPRK peace offensive was a major blow to U.S. imperialism and the “Nixon Doctrine,” as well as to the two-faced policy aiming at inciting “Koreans against Koreans.” A peace offensive was warranted to deprive Japanese militarism of any pretext to penetrate South Korea and thus further the division. The South Korean clique despises democracy and conducts a campaign to make life in South Korea more fascist. This DPRK peace offensive aims at denying the South Korean side the option of assistance from third parties, in case the aid by the U.S. and Japan for South Korea is cut off. U.S. imperialism’s aggressive policy in Asia will be thwarted. In light of internal dissent, Japanese militarism will no longer be able to assist it [U.S. imperialism]. When the South Korean clique will receive no more aid from the United States and Japan, it will turn to us, the DPRK.

Regarding the Joint Declaration North-South, Comrade Ri Man-seok stated the dialogue that had occurred does represent a success in itself. After the milestone speech by Comrade Kim Il Sung on 6 August 1971 the Red Cross talks started. Then meetings on a high level and the Joint Declaration North-South were arranged. The main content of the Joint Declaration resembles in essence the proposals by the KWP and Comrade Kim Il Sung, as summarized in the three principles of the Joint Declaration. These three principles were put forward by Comrade Kim Il Sung in his meeting with Lee Hu-rak when he visited us on order of Park Chung Hee. These principles were completely agreed upon by Park Chung Hee. Afterwards Pak Seong-cheol [Pak Song Chol] traveled to South Korea and was received by Park Chung Hee. There Park Chung Hee reiterated his support for these principles. Both sides agreed to implement a couple of respective measures according to these principles. At the same time, both sides agreed to publish the declaration at an appropriate date and keep this declaration absolutely secret in the meantime.

The declaration was published on the 4th of July. The principles of independence and the peaceful, great national unification signify in fact a defeat of the South Korean puppets’ policy. The South Korean rulers have accepted the DPRK principles, i.e. they have agreed to the proposals for unification. The 4th [KWP] Plenary Session unanimously stated that the course for unification, as taken by Comrade Kim Il Sung, is correct, and the Plenary Session welcomed this correct course of Comrade Kim Il Sung. This is a great event that cleared the path to unification of the country. In light of current negotiations and forthcoming talks, the Plenary Session concluded to increase ideological and political education of the workers and to accelerate socialist build-up in the political, economic, cultural and other fields. Thus the absolute superiority of socialism over capitalism will be proven in order to be able to further pursue the correct course of unification.

Following instructions by Comrade Kim Il Sung, the Plenary Session also agreed to start compulsory 10-grade-schooling and implement it in full by next year. There will also be the introduction of one-year mandatory kindergarten. Preparations for that will already start now. Kindergarten education will aim at preparing the children for school. In fact, all this amounts to an 11-year compulsory schooling. This was, in short, a summary of the main content of the KWP Plenary Session.

Then, Comrade Ri Man-seok continued to elaborate on developments after the publication of the Joint Declaration:

The situation turned out favorably for the peaceful and independent unification of Korea. The South Korean population unanimously agrees that this declaration is a great event and supports it with joy and enthusiasm. There is much talk among the South Korean people that the Joint Declaration cleared the path to travel, to listen to DPRK radio, to exclaim “Long Live Kim Il Sung,” and other things.

Opposition parties and prominent individuals in South Korea protested against the government for resuming direct talks with the North without involvement of the parties. The opposition parties demand to suspend the Anti-Communist Law and emergency laws. Also, world opinion comes out positively for the Joint Declaration and the course designed by Comrade Kim Il Sung. Its global resonance confirms to the importance of the Joint Declaration not only for peace in Korea but also for Asia and the world.

These developments create major complications for the ruling circles in South Korea. There are notable differences among the South Korean rulers since the three principles stand in contrast to the policies of South Korea’s ruling elites. Lee Hu-rak said during a press conference that dialogue with the North will expand, that the Anti-Communist Law, as well as the State Security Law, will be amended according to real conditions, and there has to be a new order created. He also continued that visitor traffic between societal institutions of both parts of the country must be improved, also for individual visitors and for sports athletes. According to unofficial news, the South Korean authorities want to rename the League for Anti-Communism into a League for Peace. There are also voices in South Korea’s Education Ministry to liquidate the anti-communist education system. Yet South Korean Prime Minister Kim Jong-pil stated in response to questions by South Korean parliamentarian deputies that there is no need for changing the Anti-Communist and emergency laws, and that nobody, except the clique, will be able to travel to the North. It would not be allowed to listen to North Korean radio. Thus he turned the declaration on its head.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Yeong-sik does not join this discussion. He is of the opinion that the U.N. and U.S. troops are not foreign forces.

The United States rhetorically welcomes the Joint Declaration, yet on the other hand it supports the puppets and wants to come to their assistance. On 5 July the U.S. State Department declared that, [intra-Korean] negotiations notwithstanding, the modernization of the South Korean army will continue. U.S. forces will not be reduced in size. Unification should occur under U.N. supervision. [Ri Man-seok commented:] The Korean people have suffered from division for a long time but now they sit together at one table. The United States wants to torpedo this like pouring cold water on a wedding table. The KWP will fight a persistent struggle to leave the South Korean rulers no room for evasion, and force them also in the future to meetings and comprehensive negotiations. The DPRK will work towards cutting off the South Korean puppets from Japan and the United States, and make sure they receive no more assistance from them whatsoever. Another DPRK focus consists in forcing the United States and Japan to no longer interfere in internal Korean matters. Through active measures, the existing wall between the South and the North must be removed and wide and comprehensive ties established.

Then, Comrade Ri Man-seok posed the following requests to the present representatives of the socialist countries:

It would be desirable that the fraternal socialist countries force the South Korean puppets to resume comprehensive negotiations with us [the DPRK], thereby isolating them consequently in both internal and external respects. It is important that the fraternal socialist countries are not going to win over the South Korean puppets but, in reverse, isolate them even more through persistent and not abating pressure. We expect from all of you to contribute actively and comprehensively to a further isolation of the South Korean puppets. Thus we hold the opinion that, also in the future, you must not maintain any contacts and meetings with the South Korean puppets nor visit South Korea, and not allow South Korean representatives to enter the territories of your countries.It would be desirable if you activate your efforts to support our struggle in international organizations and in international conferences. Based on the principles of equal participation of South and North Korea, we request you to demand identical representation also for North Korea in those international organizations and international conferences where only South Korea is represented. Yet if such demands fail, it is necessary to keep pressure on the Adversary and isolate South Korea, like by unmasking the unfair unilateral representation of South Korea through leaving the meetings halls, or by boycotting the meeting if, for instance, a South Korean representatives takes the microphone.We would like to ask you to continue consequently with unmasking all attempts by the American imperialists and the Japanese militarists to interfere with the independent unification of the country and the internal matters of the Korean people, as well as all attempts to perpetuate the division of the country.

We think that, if we successfully conduct the struggle for unification and the socialist countries as our class brothers will provide us with good support, our struggle will achieve its goal—though this struggle will be complicated and prolonged.

In conclusion, Comrade Ri Man-seok expressed thanks to our governments for the previous solidarity and support for the struggle of the Korean people.

Responding to a respective question by the Acting Soviet Ambassador, Comrade Ri Man-seok explained that the coordination committee will be of legal character and that its establishment will occur in the near future.

Ri Man-seok underlined the following tasks:

Internal task: Strengthening ideological and political education; strengthening socialist build-up in the North to demonstrate Northern superiority over the South.External task: Following through with a determined struggle, in order not to provide South Korea with pretexts or options to leave the initiated path.

To force the South into comprehensive and broad contacts with the North.

To untie the South from the forces of American imperialism and Japanese militarism, and thus accelerate the unification of the country.


Acting Ambassador


1x Deputy Foreign Minister Comrade Fischer

1x Comrade Markowski [Central Committee, Department IV]

1x Comrade Schneidewind [Foreign Ministry, Far East Department]

1x Comrade Grunert [Foreign Ministry]

1x Embassy/Comrade Merten

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