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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 24, 1968

MEMORANDUM OF THE FOREIGN MINISTRY OF THE DPRK FOR THE AMBASSADORS AND ACTING AMBASSADORS OF ALL SOCIALIST COUNTRIES ACCREDITED TO THE DPRK

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    Kim Jae-bong claims the U.S. is trying to instigate a new war in Korea via the USS Pueblo Incident and urges the socialist countries to support North Korea.
    "Memorandum of the Foreign Ministry of the DPRK for the Ambassadors and Acting Ambassadors of all Socialist Countries accredited to the DPRK," January 24, 1968, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MfAA C 1023/73. Translated for NKIDP by Karen Riechert. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113715
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Information of the Foreign Ministry of the DPRK on 24 January 1968, 9.00 p.m. to 9.40 p.m., for the Ambassadors and Acting Ambassadors of all Socialist Countries accredited to the DPRK

The information was given by comrade Kim Jae-bong [Kim Jae Bong], Deputy Foreign Minister of the DPRK.

I asked you to come here to inform you on behalf of the government of the DPRK about the invading armed American ship seized by our navy. I would like you to inform your governments about that.

Based on materials received, I want to inform you about the armed spy ship of which you might already have read in the newspaper.

The U.S. imperialists, who try ever more desperately to instigate a new war in Korea, yesterday let invade into the coastal waters of the DPRK the armed spy ship, which committed systematically hostile actions (39th degree latitude 17,4’; 127th degree altitude 46,9’). The mentioned spy ship was at a distance of 10 miles from the island of Ungdo, 7.6 miles from the island of Yeodo and of 10 miles from another point of the DPRK. This is a bay, which, as you know, according to the principles of international law, belongs to the territorial waters of any state.

This ship, which had committed acts of piracy, had been seized by us outside the harbor of Wonsan. The equipment of the ship: a fully armed spy ship of approximately 1.000 tons, a crew of 83, consisting of 6 officers, 75 sailors and two specialists. The two specialists are members of the notorious intelligence agency of the U.S.A.. The enemies resisted our countermeasures, so one got killed and three were wounded, one of them severely. The spy ship is equipped with one air defense machine gun, dozens of guns, ten thousands rounds of ammunition and hand grenades, radar and other espionage equipment.

As all the facts prove, the ship was assigned for reconnaissance of military objects and the coastal defense units. It is therefore an intelligence collecting ship subordinate to the American navy. The enemy itself acknowledges, that the ship is equipped with special electronic interception devices for the purpose of reconnaissance of signal and radar stations. There will be more details published by the press.

In January 1967 the enemy let the patrol boat No. 56 enter our territorial waters, followed by countless provocations on a daily basis. The provocation by the spy ship is the most despicable provocation so far. These machinations have to be strongly condemned. Hereby I would like to finish my remarks and ask you again to inform your governments about this incident.

Question by Gen. Jarck (GDR): How did the government of the DPRK lay down the size of its territorial waters?

Answer: We did not publish anything officially about that. Only for internal matters and for solving technical matters, we informed the socialist states, that our territorial waters comprise of 12 miles. This is not about miles, though, but about the spy ship entering a bay of the DPRK. The distance from the island of Yeodo is 7.6. miles.

These are the most evil attacks against our country. Nothing allows the enemy to hide his aggressive acts. This constitutes also a severe violation of the armistice treaty.

Question by the Acting Ambassador of the USSR: Is an official declaration to be expected?

Answer: I think we will express our point of view and publish a declaration. I would like to express my hope, that all socialist states fully support our actions and our attitude, and condemn unanimously the serious machinations of the U.S.A. imperialism.

Question by the acting ambassador of the Peoples’ Republic of Bulgaria, Comrade Pawlow: Is there a connection between the incident with the ship and the events in Seoul?

Answer: It is not by accident that the enemy’s provocations on sea happened at a time, when armed partisans acted in South Korea. The enemies even mobilized divisions and army corps in order to suppress the armed partisans. All that shows us, that U.S.A. imperialism maximizes preparations for another war of aggression. Therefore we are extremely vigilant. According to information, the U.S.A. imperialists have moved their 7th fleet into our direction. Thereby they aggravate the situation and the tension becomes acute.

Thank you very much for you participation and attention.

Minutes done by translator Ri.

Seen by [signed] Jarck