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Digital Archive International History Declassified

April 29, 1975


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

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    Report of the visit by DPRK officials to the PRC. This summary addresses the PRC’s and the DPRK’s relations with each other and their individual policies towards South Korea, it examines the issue of reunification and touches on the Sino-Soviet competition.
    "On the Visit of a DPRK Party and Government Delegation Headed by Kim Il Sung to the PR China from 18 to 26 April 1975," April 29, 1975, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Political Archive of the Federal Foreign Office, Berlin (PolA AA), MfAA, 300/78. Translated for NKIDP by Bernd Schaefer.
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[GDR Foreign Ministry]
Far Eastern Department
Berlin, 29 April 1975

On the Visit of a DPRK Party and Government Delegation Headed by Kim Il Sung to the PR China from 18 to 26 April 1975

A party and government delegation headed by the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party and President of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Kim Il Sung, visited the PR [People‘s Republic] China from 18 to 26 April, 1975. The delegation consisted of high-ranking officials from the army and others concerned with foreign affairs and foreign trade.

The actual date of the visit was apparently decided on short notice based on the context of current developments in Cambodia and South Vietnam, although such a visit had certainly been in the making for a long time. This was Kim Il Sung’s first official visit [abroad] since he had visited the USSR and China in 1961 and Indonesia in 1965.

Kim Il Sung was received upon his arrival by the Deputy Chairman of the CCP Central Committee and Deputy Prime Minister, Deng Xiaoping, and by other members of the PRC party and state leadership. Shortly after his arrival Kim had a meeting with Mao Zedong and later met with Zhou Enlai at a hospital.

Intensive negotiations were conducted between the DPRK delegation and the PRC delegation headed by Deng Xiaoping. According to the Communiqué, “issues of further strengthening and expanding the fighting alliance and revolutionary unity between the two parties and states, as well as questions of the current international situation and problems of joint interest to both sides” were discussed in “a cordial atmosphere of revolutionary friendship.” A “complete agreement of positions” was reached on “all issues discussed,” which left “both sides completely satisfied.”

The main concern of the Korean side during this visit was to apparently coordinate its future policy towards South Korea with the PRC. Various indicators point to the direction that based on developments in Indochina, the DPRK leadership apparently made an assessment of how pressure placed on the United States might force them to give up their positions in South Korea. During his first public appearance in Beijing, Kim Il Sung accordingly made extremely aggressive statements on the liberation of South Korea. First he listed the well-known demands for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Korea: the ending of all American interference [in Korean affairs]; and for the overthrow of the Park Chung-hee regime in South Korea as preconditions for peaceful reunification without external force. Then he stated, among other things, that the DPRK will rush to offer assistance in the case of a “revolution” in South Korea. The Korean people “have only to lose a demarcation line but reunification to gain.” It is up the United States themselves “whether there will be a war in Korea or not.”

From the beginning, the Chinese side stated its support for the DPRK’s policy of peaceful reunification without foreign interference. The Chinese side demanded the withdrawal of U.S. forces and condemned the terror of the Park Chung-hee regime. It also declared that reunification must be achieved on the basis of the three principles outlined in 1972 by Kim Il Sung himself (peaceful, without foreign interference, establish national unity irrespectively of different ideologies and social systems) and the DPRK's Five-Point-Proposal of 1973 (détente, disarmament, rejection of the two-Korea policy , confederation etc.). The Chinese side expressed its preference for the continuation of dialogue between North and South Korea that began in 1972 but had been stagnant since mid-1973. This shows that the Chinese are presently not interested in the DPRK’s policy of confrontation with the United States and South Korea, which, due to the unstable situation in Korea, could easily lead to hard-to-calculate risks for the PR China and jeopardize the PRC's rapprochement with the U.S. and Japan.

In fact, the Communiqué unilaterally represents the position of the PR China. The three principles mentioned above and the Five-Point-Proposal are defined as “the correct path towards the solution of the question of Korea's reunification.” Still, Kim Il Sung's posturing during the end of the visit was much more moderate than at its beginning. However, it cannot be excluded that, during negotiations, joint foreign policy measures and steps were discussed in order to increase pressure on the United States.

The Chinese side intended for this visit to commit the DPRK and Kim Il Sung, based on their similar ideological and political outlines, as far as possible to anti-Soviet positions, to tie the DPRK even closer to China, and to steer it away from the community of socialist states. In particular, it might have done so because Kim Il Sung, according to yet unconfirmed information, is planning to accept the invitation from the USSR—pending for many years already—for a visit during the current year.

At the welcoming banquet Deng Xiaoping talked about “modern revisionism,” the “struggle of the superpowers for world hegemony,” and so on. Apparently due to Korean requests, the Chinese side did not undertake any direct name-calling attacks against the Soviet Union. Yet both sides strongly emphasized the “unbreakable friendship and closeness, sealed with blood, initiated by Mao Zedong and Kim Il Sung themselves”. The Communiqué states that this matches with the “basic interests of the Chinese and Korean people.” After praising the successes of the DPRK and its policy—whereby those aspects of DPRK policy of interest to the PR China are highlighted—the Korean side offers an extraordinarily enthusiastic praise of the PRC and Mao Zedong.

The Chinese side made massive attempts to influence the DPRK against the policies of détente as they are pursued by the Soviet Union and the other states of the socialist community. During the first day of the visit, Deng Xiaoping accused the “superpowers” of warmongering and declared that, “not the so-called irreversible process of détente, but the growing danger of a new global war is the predominant trend of our times.” Though the Communiqué defines the international situation in a favorable light for the revolutionary peoples and unfavorably for imperialism, the conclusion drawn from the crisis of imperialism is said to be the danger of a new global war.

While at the beginning of his visit Kim Il Sung still referred to a close connection between the struggle of the socialist states and the “third world” against imperialism, the Communiqué exclusively recognizes the “third world” as a power force in the global revolutionary process.

Materials published do not support the conclusion that there was complete agreement on all issues, despite that it was explicitly emphasized this way. To the contrary, both sides seem to have stuck to their positions. Aside from the South Korea issue, this also seems to apply to issues not mentioned in the Communiqué at all; for instance, the policy towards the Soviet Union and the other socialist states, but also policies towards U.S. imperialism and Japan.

Despite lengthy negotiations, the Communiqué does not contain any concrete results for bilateral relations (there also is no return invitation mentioned). However, one cannot exclude Chinese promises for further aid. This might in particular apply to arms and equipment, but also to economic aid given the precarious foreign trade situation of the DPRK (high obligations of debt towards both socialist and capitalist states).

Although Kim Il Sung was apparently unable to move the PRC towards a full and unconditional support for the DPRK's South Korea policy and more long-term differences in opinion remain, it is to be expected that this visit will further develop the already close party and state relations between the DPRK and the PR China.

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