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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 19, 1977

TELEGRAM 066678 FROM THE ROMANIAN EMBASSY IN PYONGYANG TO THE ROMANIAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, US HELICOPTER INCIDENT ON JULY 14

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

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    The Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang reports to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the remarkably balanced DPRK coverage of the US helicopter incident of July 14. The Romanian Embassy interprets this as a reflection of North Korea's desire to initiate dialogue with the US.
    "Telegram 066678 from the Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, US Helicopter Incident on July 14," July 19, 1977, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archive of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Folder 933/1977, Issue 220/H: Partial US troop withdrawal from South Korea – Discussions regarding the reunification of the two countries, January – October 1977. Obtained and translated for NKIDP by Eliza Gheorghe. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114874
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TELEGRAM  066678

To: the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

From: the Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang

Subject: US helicopter incident on July 14

Date: July 19, 1977

Classification: Secret

Diplomatic circles in Pyongyang discuss at length the calm and highly balanced manner in which North Korean media has covered the incident on July 14 in the area of the Military Demarcation Line – the incursion of a US military helicopter in the DPRK’s airspace – as well as the reserved nature of the Armistice Committee’s discussions in Panmunjeom, and especially the rational and constructive way of resolving the incident.

The North Korean press objectively presented the facts, without any comments against the US.

During discussions with Ambassador Dumitru Popa and Victor Nanu respectively, the Ambassadors of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and the First Secretary of the Yugoslav Embassy in Pyongyang noted that the calm and extremely balanced attitude of the Korean government regarding the aforementioned incident reflects, among others, the DPRK’s efforts of creating favorable conditions for initiating dialogue with the US.

The DPRK’s attitude vis-à-vis the July 14 incident is also considered significant in view of US Secretary of State Cyrus Vance’s forthcoming visit to Beijing and the potential contacts between the American delegation and North Korean officials.

It is particularly notable that, in comparison to other incidents, military maneuvers etc. along the Military Demarcation Line, on July 14, North Korean authorities were, for the first time, calm, compliant and understanding. Evidently, this is partly due to the fact that the US assumed responsibility for the incident.

We consider this to be a step further towards establishing favorable conditions for initiating a dialogue to solve the Korean question.   

Signed: Dumitru Popa