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Digital Archive International History Declassified

December 06, 1973

TELEGRAM FROM PYONGYANG TO BUCHAREST, SECRET, NO. 61.537

This document was made possible with support from the ROK Ministry of Unification, Leon Levy Foundation

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    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.
    "Telegram from Pyongyang to Bucharest, SECRET, No. 61.537," December 06, 1973, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archives, Matter 220/Year: 1973/Country: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – other states, CLASSIFICATION: SECRET, Department I Relations, Folder 1514, Vol. II, Regarding the Foreign Policy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea towards Other States, Period: 06.08 – 24.12.1973. Obtained and translated for NKIDP by Eliza Gheorghe http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114080
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01/0152523/06.12.1973

To Direction I Relations – Comrade Ion Ciubotaru

We further inform you about the various reactions within the DPRK concerning the U.N. consensus over the Korean issue, a topic intensely debated within the diplomatic corps in Pyongyang.

As we formerly pointed out, the consensus of Committee no.1 over the Korean issue, which was received with enthusiasm in Pyongyang, as a great victory, in fact represents a practical compromise solution (as opposed to the unjustified requests during the period of preparations for the General Assembly), which the DPRK is accepting as an alternative to the South Korean project of enrolling two Koreas at the U.N. From the comments of socialist diplomats as well as of other countries, partially confirmed by the insistence with which the Korean press is justifying the position of the DPRK government, it has become apparent that some members of the Korean leadership, militaries most of all, have not fully grasped the concession made in favor of U.S. troops stationing in South Korea, an issue which remained outside the final document adopted on 21 November.

On the other hand, the realist spirit in which the U.N. has solved this issue is ignored in North-South relations. Polemics on various topics is intensifying. On the backdrop of political tensions on both sides, throughout the last days military elements have sprung, motivated by the repeated entry of DPRK ships in the territorial waters of islands recently claimed by the North (next to Haeju port in the Yellow Sea). This course of action, explained by DPRK as a means of exercising legitimate control in these territories, is seen by authorities in Seoul as the most serious incident since the ‘Pueblo Case’ in 1968 which triggered a state of military alert from the part of South Korea, coupled with the threat that a future similar attempt would result in retaliation.

In case DPRK aimed these actions at supporting student movements in South Korea, the result was the opposite, as the general mobilization of the army is on the verge of resulting in the forceful repression of youth movements.   

We note that conversely, the authorities in Seoul used this action to pass through parliament—without objections—the military budget for 1974.

Signed: Aurelian Lazar

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01/0152523/06.12.1973

수신: 제1관계국– Ion Ciubotaru 동지

평양의 외교단 사이에서 집중적으로 토론되고 있는 조선 문제를 둘러싼 유엔 합의와 관련하여 조선민주주의인민공화국이 나타낸 다양한 반응에 대해 추가 보고를 제출한다.

앞서 지적한 바와 같이, 조선 문제에 대한 제1위원회 합의는 평양에서 위대한 승리로 환영 받았으며, 이는 (총회 준비기간 나타났던 부적합한 요청과 비교할 때) 실질적인 절충안으로 조선민주주의인민공화국은 이를 유엔에 두 개의 조선을 가입시키자는 남조선의 주장에 대안으로 받아들이고 있다. 사회주의 국가와 기타 국가 외교관들의 말에 따르면, 조선민주주의인민공화국 정부의 입장을 정당화하는 조선 언론의 일관성을 볼 때, 조선 지도층, 특히 군부는 남한에의 미군 주둔을 통해 얻은 혜택을 완전히 이해하고 있는 것 같지 않다. 이는 11월 21일 채택된 최종문에 포함되지 않은 문제이다.

반면 유엔이 이 문제를 해결했다는 현실주의적 정신은 북남 관계에서는 경시되었다. 다양한 주제에 대한 격한 토론은 심화되고 있다. 양측의 정치적 긴장 이외에도 지난 몇 일 동안은 군사 요소들이 제기되었는데, 이는 최근 북측이 영유권을 주장한 (황해 해주항 부근) 섬 지역 영해에 조선민주주의인민공화국 선박의 반복적인 진입으로 인한 것이었다. 이러한 행동은 조선민주주의인민공화국에 의하면 이 영해에 대한 합법적인 통치권 행사라고 하지만 서울의 관료들에게는 이와 유사한 사건이 보복으로 이어질 위험과 더불어 1968년 남한에 군사경계태세를 초래한 ‘푸에블로호 사건’ 이후 가장 심각한 사건으로 여겨진다.

조선민주주의인민공화국이 남한에서의 학생운동을 지원하고자 이러한 행동을 펼친 경우, 결과는 그 반대로 나타났다. 일반군이 청년운동을 강제적으로 억압하기 일보 직전이기 때문이다.

우리는 서울의 관료들이 이 행동을 역으로 이용하여 1974년 군사예산을 - 반발 없이 – 국회에 통과시킬 수 있었음에 주목한다.  

서명: Aurelian Lazăr