SUMMARIZED EVALUATION OF KIM IL SUNG'S VISIT TO THE PR CHINA (18 TO 26 APRIL 1975)
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get citationA report on the visit of Kim Il Sung to the PRC, describing Kim Il Sung’s reception and the topics discussed. These include the two countries position on the Soviet Union, the role of the “Third World” and Korean reunification."Summarized Evaluation of Kim Il Sung's Visit to the PR China (18 to 26 April 1975)," May 06, 1975, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Political Archive of the Federal Foreign Office, Berlin (PolA AA), MfAA, C 6857. Translated by Bernd Schaefer. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114125
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GDR Embassy to the PR China
Beijing, 6 May 1975
Summarized Evaluation of Kim Il Sung's Visit to the PR China (18 to 26 April 1975)
1. The General Secretary of the KWP Central Committee and President of the DPRK, Comrade Kim Il Sung, stayed for an official state visit in the PR China as head of a DPRK party and government delegation between 18 and 26 April 1975. During their stay the Korean delegation visited Beijing and Nanjing. They visited factories, people's communes and topographical and historic attractions. There are no reports about visits of army units.
On 19, 20, 21, and 25 April, negotiations were held in Beijing between the party and government delegations of the DPRK and PRC. Delegations were chaired by Deng Xiaoping and Kim Il Sung respectively (see delegation list in appendix 2 [not included in this translation]). On 26 April 1975, a “Joint Communiqué” was agreed upon and then published on 28 April.
The Communiqué and speeches from both sides praised in identical language Kim Il Sung's China visit as “a great event of historical importance” in the history of relations between the parties, states, and peoples of China and Korea. According to the Communiqué, political negotiations were held in “a cordial atmosphere of revolutionary friendship.” On all issues discussed a “complete congruence of opinions was achieved.”
There was no return invitation issued for a visit by a Chinese party and government delegation to the DPRK.
2. The Chinese hosts made extraordinarily large efforts to stage the Kim Il Sung visit. This was demonstrated primarily by the extraordinarily high attention to protocol for Kim Il Sung and the Korean guests, the pompous reception at the Beijing train station, the colorful line up of Chinese people (for the first time in many years), the organized welcomes at every location where the delegation traveled, and finally by the meetings with the PR China's top leadership.
Everything was clearly staged for a targeted appreciation of Kim Il Sung the person. Among other things, he was called “a time-tested great leader of the Korean people” who applies the “general truth of Marxism-Leninism to the concrete reality of the Korean revolution.” He was called a “wise leader” with “glorious merits for the cause of revolution” and a “true friend and closest comrade in arms of the Chinese people.”
During his visit to China, Kim Il Sung met almost the entire active top Chinese leadership. In particular, the meetings with Mao Zedong and Zhu De on 19 April and with Zhou Enlai on 20 April reveal the importance attributed to Kim Il Sung's visit for China's foreign and domestic policy by the Chinese leadership. Kim Il Sung was the highest ranking guest from a socialist country since the visit by Comrade Ceausescu in June 1971.
Apparently the meetings by the Chinese top leadership with the DPRK delegation did not fail in their explicit intention to appreciate Kim Il Sung. Kim Il Sung felt very honored. For instance, he commented on his upcoming meeting with Mao right after his arrival in Beijing that he was “delighted about this special treatment.”
The Kim Il Sung visit was featured in the Chinese press with extensive and prominent coverage. This demonstrated in particular the great importance of this event in terms of domestic policy. On the other hand, the Chinese press featured very few aspects about the Kim Il Sung visit from the DRPK press (excerpts from editorials in “Nodong Sinmun” and two other newspapers, see also appendix 3 [not included in this translation]).
The Cambodian leadership residing in Beijing was present for all of the official events. Members of the DPRK delegation headed by Kim Il Sung met twice with Prince [Norodom] Sihanouk and Penn Nouth for talks. Judging by the visible joint appearances from both sides their relations can be considered as good.
3. Speeches and the Joint Communiqué focused very strongly on bilateral issues. The intense and high praise for the “correctness” of both sides' policies,” always focused on the personalities of Mao Zedong and Kim Il Sung, is especially significant.
It was repeatedly asserted that the CCP and KWP are “fraternal Marxist-Leninist parties,” the PRC and DPRK are “closest socialist neighboring countries,” and the people of China and Korea are “comrades in arms and members of one family.” Friendship, as established by Mao Zedong and Kim Il Sung, is based on Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism and is unbreakable. Kim Il Sung talked on 19 April about a “fighting alliance between class brothers.”
Moreover, the Chinese side portrayed the DPRK as the first country to have defeated the armed aggression of U.S. imperialism following World War II and thus gave a shining example for the anti-imperialist struggle. At the same time, the great domestic policy successes of the DPRK were praised, especially the Chollima movement and the so-called three great revolutions achieved by the DPRK's own force and its own defense.
The DPRK side fully has recognized and broadly appreciated Chinese domestic policies in recent years. Special emphasis was given to: great success in socialist revolution and socialist construction; a “revolutionary spirit of independence, sovereignty, and self-confidence”; the “Cultural Revolution” and the “Campaign against Confucius and Lin Biao” had “consolidated the dictatorship of the proletariat in China”; the “strength of the economy and the country's defense” has increased; the “intellectual and moral potential of the people” was renewed; wish for even more successes “in creating a powerful socialist state”; support for the policy to liberate Taiwan.
4. It is all but apparent that this visit by the DPRK party and government delegation to the PR China was arranged on very short notice (supported by e.g. the rather uncommon fact here in Beijing that two high ranking foreign delegations are visiting the PRC at the same time, Kim Il Sung and the Belgian Prime Minister Leo Tindemans). The background for Kim Il Sung's visit in China is in all likelihood the new situation in Asia created by the great victories of the peoples of Indochina during recent weeks. The DPRK leadership was confronted by the question how to proceed with its policy towards South Korea.
Thus the Korea question was probably one of the most important issues in talks between the Chinese leadership and in political negotiations between both delegations. This is reflected in speeches and the Communiqué in different ways (see appendix 1, chapter 3).
The remarks of the Chinese side were consistent from the beginning and there was a firm official convention of speech in place. China especially emphasized that Kim Il Sung “has defined the correct policy for the independent and peaceful reunification of Korea” and the DPRK government “repeatedly made correct and reasonable proposals for the peaceful reunification of the fatherland.” It was always referred to the three principles [of the 4 July 1972 declaration] and the [1973 DPRK] Five-Point-Proposal. In addition, the Chinese side supported the DPRK demand for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Korea and condemned the Park [Chung-hee] clique's policy and its attempt to create “two Koreas”.
The DPRK referred extensively to the issue of Korean unification only in Kim Il Sung's speech of 19 April. In the speech, Korean reunification was called “an important link in the chain of the global anti-imperialist liberation struggle.” Kim Il Sung struck an extremely militant tone. His remarks culminated in the statement that in “a war (if started by the enemies, added by this author’s evaluation) we only lose the line of demarcation but will gain the reunification of the fatherland”.
The Communiqué of 26 April only contains the extensive Chinese positions on Korean reunification. The DPRK position is not represented there. Also the DPRK did not repeat its own proposals and it also did not express thanks to the Chinese side for its support of proposals and policy of the DPRK (as Kim Il Sung had done in its speech on 19 April).
We think that this analysis demonstrates that there apparently was no “complete congruence of positions” on this issue. It can be assumed the Chinese leaders were not prepared, given their foreign and domestic policy interests and intentions, to let themselves be dragged into an unwelcome military confrontation in Korea – and thus used to extend their influence to moderate Kim Il Sung.
5. During Kim Il Sung's visit to the PR China, statements were also made on some important international issues. The Chinese side (see Deng Xiaoping's speech on 19 April) forcefully outlined some foundations of its current foreign policy: the “superpower” thesis with its clear line of attack against the USSR, the role of the “Third World”, the thesis about the growing danger of a new world war.
Apparently, the results of talks on foreign policy issues differ to certain extent. There were probably similar positions on the role of the “Third World.” However, the Korean side did not adopt the Chinese phrase that the “Third World is the main force in the struggle against imperialism, colonialism, and hegemonism.”
On the other hand, the Chinese side did not accept Kim Il Sung's words from his 19 April speech according to which “in our epoch … the peoples of the socialist countries and the Third World act as the masters in the international arena.” The Joint Communiqué talks about the “Third World” as a “great force to drive the history of humankind toward progress.”
Both sides did not state, as the Chinese leaders had done many times before, that China or the DPRK belong to the “Third World.”
Concerning the danger of a new global war, both sides seem to agree on their positions regarding an actual aggravation of international contradictions. However, it looks like there are far-reaching differences with regard to their causes: The Chinese side views the “struggle of the superpowers”, i.e. the Soviet Union, as the reason behind these developments. The DPRK primarily refers to contradictions within imperialism, as well as between imperialism on one hand and the socialist states and the “Third World” on the other (though this is camouflaged by the definition of our times as the epoch of “permanent struggle between the old forces and the newly emerging forces”).
Of special relevance is the fact that Kim Il Sung did not accept the massive anti-Sovietism (without explicit mentioning) contained in Deng Xiaoping's speech on 19 April, and that he requested to refrain from such in the context of his visit to China. In subsequent Chinese speeches as well as in the welcoming editorials, there is only a line that the DPRK is leading a decisive struggle “against imperialism and modern revisionism.” We think it represents compromise language when the Communiqué states “contradictions within imperialism are on the rise.” The Chinese side interprets this line as “contradictions between imperialisms,” i.e. “between imperialism and social-imperialism” (refer to the Communiqué’s English translation which says “between imperialisms”).
In the speeches as well as in the Joint Communiqué there are references to the struggle of different peoples and respective support is declared: Cambodia, South Vietnam, Middle East, South of Africa, Latin America.
It looks like that the phrasing of those passages was comparatively easy due to the well-known positions held by both sides. Yet here as well the Chinese had to refrain from anti-Soviet remarks.
No references were made in the Communiqué to a number of important geopolitical issues. This applies, among other things, to the decisive role of the socialist states for the history of the current world, the relations among the socialist states, the role of the Italian Communist Party and relations between communist and workers parties, the developments in Europe, the Chinese-American relations, the positions on Japan and India.
Apparently both sides were not interested in stating their positions on some of these issues. On other questions the actual policy on both sides precluded a public statement (e.g. relations with the socialist states, relations with the United States and Japan).
6. Though the bilateral relationship was drummed up by both sides, neither in the speeches nor in the Communiqué substantial statements were made about actual party relations and concrete bilateral relations. The Communiqué states only very generally how the visit was “a great success” and made “an important contribution to the further strengthening of the comrade-in-arms friendship and the great unity between both parties, both states, and the peoples.”
There are no hints whatsoever regarding concrete agreements reached during Kim Il Sung's visit to the PR China about the further development of relations. The comparatively long period of negotiations (the delegations met altogether four times), and the fact that the Ministers for Foreign Trade and for Foreign Economic Relations stayed behind in Beijing while the DPRK delegation traveled to Nanjing, might invite the conclusion that issues of bilateral, in particular economic relations, played no subordinate role during negotiations.
For instance, according to rumors, the DPRK asked for Chinese support in planning and construction. So far we and other fraternal socialist embassies were unable to receive further information from the DPRK Embassy.
7. Concluding Remarks
- The visit by the high-ranking DPRK party and government delegation headed by Kim Il Sung to the PR China evidently holds important relevance for future relations between both parties and states. In particular the extraordinary praise for Kim Il Sung personally is supposed to bear favorable results for Chinese-Korean relations. It also is noteworthy here that Kim Il Sung visited the PR China before the other visits planned for the current year.
- At the time, the visit showed that different positions and unresolved problems continue to exist on matters of importance between the leaderships of PRC and DPRK. This might offer good points of contact for a targeted policy by the socialist community of states towards the DPRK.
Statements on various issues during the Kim Il Sung visit to the PR China
1. Statements by the Chinese side, respectively from the communiqué, on the international situation and policy:
- Welcome editorial in “Renmin Ribao”:
“True to the principles of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism, the Korean Workers Party, the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and the Korean people fight decisively against imperialism and the modern revisionism. They support with determination the just struggle of the peoples from all countries, especially the struggle by the peoples of the countries in the Third World to gain national liberation, respectively national independence and state sovereignty.”
- Speech by Deng Xiaoping on 19 April, 1975, during the banquet:
“The current international situation is characterized by great disorder under heaven. All the basic contradictions in the world are growing. Factors leading towards revolution as well as to war are on the rise. The struggle of the superpowers for world domination becomes fiercer than ever. The fight is not just over continents but also over oceans. The further they stretch out their hands, and the more territories fall under their hegemony, the heavier their burden and the greater resistance they encounter by the peoples of all countries […]. Lenin is teaching us: 'World domination' is the content of imperialist policy, and its sequel is the imperialist war.' As long as imperialism does exist in the world, its social system will generate war. This is independent from the will of the people. What we are seeing right now is by no means a so-called irreversible process of detente but the increasing danger of a new world war. The superpowers are talking about 'detente' and 'peace', but in reality they prepare for a war with all they have. We must not relax in our vigilance. Neither a nuclear war nor a conventional war can save imperialism and hegemonism from its demise. Instead they will create a new upsurge of revolutionary struggles by the peoples of the world”.
- Speech by Peng Chong (Chair of the Party Committee of Jiangsu Province) on 22 April:
“Comrade Peng Chong praised the heroic Korean people. Under the wise leadership of President Kim Il Sung and the KWP, it consequently preserves the course of Marxism-Leninism, holds high the three great banners (ideology, technology, culture), achieves great successes in the revolution and socialist construction. It makes a great contribution towards the struggle against imperialism and modern revisionism, as well as to the just struggles of the peoples.”
- Speech by Deng Xiaoping at the concluding banquet:
… no direct references …
- Xinhua News Agency Correspondence in “Renmin Ribao” on 27 April on the Visit of Kim Il Sung:
“The KWP, the government of the DPRK, and the Korean people led by President Kim Il Sung have steadfastly stood with proletarian internationalism. They have fought against imperialism and modern revisionism and made a great contribution to the revolutionary struggle of the oppressed peoples all over the world.”
- The “Joint Communiqué” of 28 April states:
“Both sides agree in their opinion that the current international situation is developing even further towards the advantage of the world's revolutionary peoples and to the disadvantage of imperialism and the old and new colonialism. The old economic order built in colonialist and imperialist foundations is currently confronted with heavy destruction and blows on a daily basis. World capitalism is sliding towards an economic crisis which aggravates daily. Contradictions within imperialism escalate ever further [GDR Embassy insert: “English translation: between imperialisms”]. Wherever in the world imperialism does exist, the social order serves as fertile ground for war. Currently imperialism uses the cover of “peace” to move on with aggression and bellicose actions. The danger of a new world war is increasing. Peoples of all countries must raise their vigilance and make preparations accordingly. If imperialism will dare to launch a new war, the demise of imperialism will inevitably accelerate and bring about new victories for the world revolution. Both sides express their conviction that perspectives for the world are bright and clear, no matter whether a war creates the revolution or the revolution stems the war.”
2. On the Role of the “Third World”:
- Speech by Deng Xiaoping on 19 April:
“The revolutionary struggles by the peoples of all countries move ahead victoriously in the midst of all upheaval. Now everybody can see that the international situation has massively changed in favor of the peoples of all countries. The Third World, the main force in the struggle against imperialism, colonialism, and hegemonism is rising.”
- Speech by Kim Il Sung on 19 April:
“Our epoch is characterized by a permanent struggle between the old forces and the newly emerging forces. It is a new historical era where the general crises of imperialism aggravate and the peoples of the socialist countries and the Third World appear in the international arena as the masters.
Since the economic crises in the capitalist world worsen, and the political crises and social contradictions there escalate, the imperialists look for a way out and seek refuge in a policy of war, threats, and blackmail. However, on the other side the anti-imperialist struggle of the peoples from the socialist countries and the Third World and the international working class become ever more powerful on a global level. […]
Due to the joint experiences in situations past and the identity of their current struggle, the Korean people stand firmly on the side of the peoples from the Third World at the same front. It fights with them in close coordination. […]
The Third World, created through struggle, is a powerful anti-imperialist revolutionary force of our time. It is a great force that presses ahead the history of humankind. […]
- “Joint Communiqué”:
“Both sides forcefully state: The awareness and strength of a great number of states from the Third World is an outstanding characteristic of the current excellent international situation. For a long time, the countries of the Third World were subject to colonialist and imperialist repression and exploitation. They more than ever increase their solidarity in the struggle for the gain and preservation of national independence, for the defense of state sovereignty, and for the development of their national economy and the protection of national resources. They constitute a strong and vital fighting force and play an ever growing role in international affairs. Peoples of the vast mass of Third World countries have already become a mighty force for the progress of mankind's history and a powerful anti-imperialist revolutionary force.”
3. On Korean Reunification
- Speech by Deng Xiaoping on 19 April:
peaceful reunification of the fatherland. In particular the three principles for the independent and peaceful reunification of the fatherland and the Five-Point-Proposal for the prevention of national division and the reunification of the fatherland, both of them proposed by President Kim Il Sung, fully represent Korea's national interests. They were met with the determined backing by the entire Korean people and great international support”.
- Speech Kim Il Sung's on 19 April:
“ The current struggle of our people for the reunification of their divided fatherland is an important link in the chain of the global anti-imperialist national liberation struggle. […]
If revolution breaks out in South Korea we, being members of the same nation, will not stand by idle keeping our arms folded, but we will energetically support the South Korean population.
If the enemy recklessly launches a war, we will decisively respond with war and destroy the aggressors completely.
In this struggle we will only lose the military demarcation line but gain the reunification of the fatherland.
Peace or war in today’s Korea ultimately depends on the position of the United States. It is them who hold the power in South Korea in their hands and view themselves as the masters of the country. […]
If the U.S. forces withdraw from South Korea and a democratic individual with national conscience comes to power – as the South Korean population so desires -, we will have a firm guarantee for a permanent peace in Korea and can successfully resolve the question of Korean reunification in a peaceful manner and among us Koreans. […]
- Speeches at the concluding banquet on 25 April:
Only brief general statements
- “Joint Communiqué”
The Chinese side unilaterally states its positions in similar fashion as done in Deng Xiaoping's speech of 19 April.`
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