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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 04, 1988

EXCERPT FROM A CONVERSATION WITH MEMBER OF THE CC KWP POLITBURO AND MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE DPRK KIM YONG-NAM, MOSCOW

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    Kim expresses concern about the Soviet Union's increasing contacts with South Korea.
    "Excerpt from a Conversation with Member of the CC KWP Politburo and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK Kim Yong-nam, Moscow," May 04, 1988, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Mikhail Gorbachev, Otvechaya na Vyzov Vremeni: Vneshnyaya Politika Prestroiki (Moscow: Ves Mir, 2010), p. 848. Translated by Sergey Radchenko. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/176345
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Gorbachev: We view your visit to the USSR in the general context of dynamically developing bilateral relations, contacts, and consultations. […]

Kim Yong-nam: […] There are reports that the South Korean authorities have economic contacts with the Soviet Union, and that in the future these ties will widen. We spoke to comrade [Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard] Shevardnadze about this and wanted to ask you to pay attention to this, and also to conduct appropriate work with the party and state leaders of other socialist countries.

Gorbachev: Do you really doubt our support?

Kim Yong-nam: No, of course we don’t doubt it.

Gorbachev: One cannot have any doubts. Possibly some South Korean products do end up in the USSR in the context of the regular international trade exchange. But we are not talking about ties with South Korea. […]

We consider the situation on the Korean peninsula to be one of the important nodes in the Asia Pacific. We have always supported you, for your proposals have a constructive character, and reflect not just the DPRK interests, but also [the interests of] other countries; they are directed towards the amelioration of the situation in the region.