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Digital Archive International History Declassified

April 15, 1976

REPORT, EMBASSY OF HUNGARY IN NORTH KOREA TO THE HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY

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    Report on Soviet-Korean economic negotiations. The DPRK makes a request for a nuclear power plant, which the Soviet Union declines. The Korean delegation is overly aggressive and crude to the Soviets.
    "Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry," April 15, 1976, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MOL, XIX-J-1-j Korea, 1976, 82. doboz, 5, 00854/2/1976. Obtained and translated for NKIDP by Balazs Szalontai. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111473
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Comrade György Kuti was given detailed information by his Soviet colleague […] about one of the most important items on the agenda of the Soviet-Korean intergovernmental economic negotiations that took place in Moscow in late January and early February 1976, namely, the utilization of the new Soviet investment and development loan between 1976 and 1980, and also about the repayment of the accumulated [North Korean] debts, the conduct of the DPRK negotiating delegation, and other related issues.

[…]

The DPRK side also made a request for the construction of a nuclear power plant. For various reasons – primarily military considerations and the amount of the investment – the Soviet side declared that this [request] was now inopportune and proposed to come back to it only in the course of the next [five-year] plan. The Korean side was very reluctant to accept this Soviet decision and the rejection of a few other investment demands.

Particularly in the course of the negotiations over credit, but also on other issues, […] the head of the Korean delegation – Deputy Premier Kong Jin-tae – behaved in an extremely aggressive way, definitely crude and insulting in certain statements vis-a-vis his Soviet counterpart, Deputy Premier Arkhipov. He declared several times that if the Soviet Union was unwilling to make “appropriate” allowances for the “front-line situation” of the DPRK, and did not comply entirely with the Korean requests, the DPRK would be compelled to suspend its economic relations with the Soviet Union.

It was only after his visit to Comrade Kosygin that Kong Jin-tae changed his conduct, and thus it became possible to sign the agreements. Comrade Kosygin, among others, firmly rebuked him, declaring that the Soviet Union did not accept ultimatums.

Ferenc Szabó
ambassador