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Digital Archive International History Declassified

December 13, 1960

EXCERPTS FROM 'NODONG SINMUN,' 13 DECEMBER 1960

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    The report of General Ra Se-kjon describes the visit of the PRC Military Delegation to a number of factories, communes and memorials in the DPRK in October-November 1960. General Ra Se-kjon describes the success of the Korean economy: the success of post-War reconstruction; the 5-year plan; the increased productivity of certain factories; the collectivization, irrigation, and electrification of the countryside; as well as education and the eradication of illiteracy.
    "Excerpts from 'Nodong Sinmun,' 13 December 1960," December 13, 1960, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PolA AA, MfAA, A 6980. Obtained and translated by Bernd Schaefer. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113712
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Excerpts from Translation from “Rodong Sinmun”, 13 December 1960

Report by [Chinese] Army General Ra Se-kjon [sic] at Event Commemorating the Return of PRC Military Delegation from Visit to DPRK

Comrades!

Please allow me to speak for our military delegation returning from a visit to the DPRK and give a report about our visit to Korea.

Our country’s military delegation stayed in the DPRK at the invitation of Kim Gwang-hyeop [Kim Kwang Hyop], Minister of National Defense, between 23 October and 11 November 1960 for a friendship visit to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the participation of Chinese volunteers in the Korean War. The delegation was joined on this visit by the ensemble of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

The delegation visited fifteen major and minor units in Pyongyang, Gaeseong, [Gangju], Sincheon, Huicheon, Wonsan, Geumgang, Hamheung, Cheongjin, etc., nine factories, one agricultural commune, and a dam with reservoir. We laid wreaths at three monuments for fallen soldiers, enjoyed five artistic performances, and met with hundreds of thousands of workers.

[…]

During our visit we saw how the Korean people have achieved stunningly great successes in a short term, pertaining to postwar reconstruction as well the building of socialism.

Some time after the signing of the armistice in 1953, Marshal Har Jon visited Korea as head of a delegation of the Chinese people. Back then Marshal Har Jon saw in Korea how all cities had been turned to rubble and ashes, and how there was not one single un-destroyed building in Pyongyang. Yet now he observed how the Korean cities have changed completely.

For instance, the cities of Pyongyang, Wonsan, Hamheung, Cheongjin etc. have been rebuilt as new modern cities. High-rises are lined up next to each other, the streets are clean, orderly, and beautiful. They are filled with people. It is now completely impossible to find traces of the war. People would not believe in such miracles if they had not seen them with their own eyes.

The villages were seriously destroyed during the war as well. In many of those villages no stone remained on top of another. Yet now they are completely reconstructed, and there are no vestiges of the war left. Only rarely you see a few bomb craters.

In the area of industry, Korea began in 1957, after a three-year period of reconstruction, with the implementation of the first five-year-plan. This plan was fulfilled pertaining to the entirety of industrial production two and a half years early.

This year [1960] industrial production rose 3.5 times compared to 1956, 6.4 times compared to the pre-war year of 1949, and 7.7 times compared to 1944, the year before the liberation. The equipment of factories we visited was even more modern than in the pre-war period. They produce several high-quality products, and in quantitative terms of production they surpass those of the pre-war period multiple times.

For instance, during the war bombs fell within an average radius of 1 square meter on the smelter in Hwanghae. The factory and its equipment were almost completely destroyed. Yet in just one year after the [1953] armistice the smelter was rebuilt with Korean material and Korean equipment. Blast furnace “Number 1” and the coke battery were erected, and thus daily steel production reached 800 tons. The fertilizer factory in Heungnam was also completely destroyed through bombing during the war. Yet today it has been significantly enlarged compared to the pre-war period, and production rose by 4.3 times compared to that earlier period. Under Japanese rule only somewhat more than 400 workers and 10 machines worked in the mechanical engineering factory of [Wonsan]. Now this very factory has been turned into a site for the production of large machines with more than 5,000 workers. An 8-meter-roundabout-lathe was built, as well as a 3,000-ton-press. In the Cheongjin steel mill iron clumps [luppen] are made from minor-value ore and anthracite. Currently each rotary kiln produces 90 ton daily, while there were only 41 ton made per day during the pre-war period. In many respects we [in China] have to learn from such a method to produce iron clumps [luppen].

In the field of agriculture, collectivization has already been achieved completely. One million farms were concentrated into 3,800 agricultural cooperatives. Also irrigation and electrification have been basically completed. Currently they undertake major efforts to implement mechanization. Irrigated areas in Korea comprise of 800,000 jeongbo, this is seven times as much as in the pre-war period.

This year they had a good harvest. According to statistical data, they expect the entire grain harvest to reach 3,803 million tons this year, i.e. 40 percent more than before the liberation and two times the harvest of 1946. This way the norms for grain production, as outlined in the first Five-Year-Plan in the field of agriculture, will be fulfilled one year before the deadline.

The delegation visited the agricultural cooperative for Korean-Chinese friendship in Sanyang in Sunan County. This cooperative was built in December 1953 by 12 families of murdered patriots (small peasants), yet meanwhile it has turned into a major cooperative with 756 farms and more than 1,500 members. This cooperative owns 1620 hectares of land, 327 cows, 671 pigs, 13 tractors, 65 stationary threshers, 2 cars and 6 narrow gauge railroads. This year they have mostly harvested rice and cotton. Also analphabetism has been completely eradicated there. The cooperative has an emergency room, a primary school, childcare facilities, baths, a radio network and a club. In this cooperative we have already seen how the Korean peasants have entered the promising path towards a life in utmost dignity.

Korea also flourishes in cultural and educational terms. Currently there are 2.5 learners and students (on average there is one learner out of four inhabitants), and the number of students has reached 100,000. Comprehensive general high-school education is realized in the entire country on a mandatory basis. In some factories, almost 80 percent of the entire workforce masters the knowledge of high school graduates. The course of linking education to productive labor is applied in every respect. High school graduates enter universities only after two years in production or in military service. University students do two month of productive labor every year.

[...] [Remarks on Korean music and dance performances during the Chinese delegation’s visit]

Living standards of the people have been lifted up substantially. A large number of apartments were built in cities and villages. The problems of clothing and feeding the people have also been resolved. Everybody we met was healthy and attractive. It must be emphasized that steadfastness, simplicity, industriousness and entrepreneurship remain the elements of the Korean people’s eminent style.

These great successes in building socialism in Korea were made possible thanks to the correct leadership of the KWP with Comrade Kim Il Sung at its helm, and thanks to the elevating enthusiasm of the entire Korean people. In addition, the assistance provided to the Korean people from the fraternal countries also had a certain impact.

The KWP defined the basic course for economic build-up like that: Simultaneous development of agriculture and light industry with priority development assigned to heavy industry. In addition, the KWP organized the Chollima Movement in the entire population to create the basis for self-reliant economic foundations. Countrywide more than 227,000 people participated in Chollima and thus accelerated the speed of socialist construction. All facts testify that the KWP course to build socialism in rapid fashion is completely correct. Now the KWP has announced a Seven-Year-Plan to develop the economy. The implementation of the Seven-Year-Plan will turn Korea into a developed socialist industrial country. […]