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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 18, 1974

THE FOREIGN POLICY OF THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA AND ITS POSITION TOWARDS THE MAIN INTERNATIONAL MATTERS

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    The North Korea outline the direction of its foreign policy. Mainly, Pyongyang seeks to expand the number of countries that it maintains diplomatic relations with and ascend to international organizations. The DPRK hopes to replaces the 1953 armistice with a peace treaty that will facilitate the eventual unification of the Korean peninsula. The document also notes North Korea's tumultuous relationships with the communist powers. The source observes that while there have been reservations in the relationship with the USSR, ties with the PRC have continued to grow.
    "The Foreign Policy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and its Position towards the Main International Matters," July 18, 1974, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archives of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Matter 220/Year 1974/Country: Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Folder 1822, Secret. Obtained and translated for NKIDP by Eliza Gheorghe. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114087
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Ministry of Foreign Affairs
First Direction – Relations
No. 01/08719
Secret

The Foreign Policy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and its Position towards the Main International Matters

The main trends in the foreign policy of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, set at the 5th Party Congress (1970) and at the 1972 Session of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, are:

• To develop friendly relations with all countries which manifest a friendly attitude towards the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, based on the principle of equality and mutual advantage;

•  To undertake efforts to get to a [higher level] of unity and cohesion of socialist countries and to promote friendly and collaborative relations with socialist countries, based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism;

•  To expand and strengthen even more state-to-state relations with countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, which are fighting for their freedom and national independence;

•  To establish and promote friendly relations with as many states as possible in areas like political, economic and cultural relations, based on the five principles of peaceful coexistence, [including] with capitalist countries which want to establish relations with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and which are carrying out a just, unaggressive policy towards the North and the South of the Korean Peninsula.

The struggle against American imperialism and Japanese militarism continues to represent one of the main concerns in the internal and external policy of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The harsh terms and phrases used at the 5th Party Congress, [such as]: “American imperialism is the most atrocious and cynical aggressor and looter in all modern times, and the number one mutual enemy of all progressive peoples in the world…; Japanese militarism is the sworn enemy of peoples in Asia…” continue to be used at the present moment as well, but to a lower extent, especially in official documents.

The beginning in1972 of a dialogue with South Korea, the annual visits of certain personalities in the party and state leadership from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to numerous countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, the efforts of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to influence as many countries as possible to be able to counter the actions of the South, the creation of friendship associations in all countries where such a thing was possible as well as the more flexible foreign policy promoted in the last 2-3 years resulted in the recognition of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea by an increasing number of countries and to its accession to different international organizations. Therefore, only in 1973, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea established diplomatic relations with 12 countries, joined the World Health Organization and the Interparliamentary Union, opened a permanent observer office at the United Nations and took part, for the first time, in the workings of the General Assembly of the United Nations as an observer. In 1974, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea established diplomatic relations with Gabon, Costa Rica, Nepal and Guyana, it joined the World Postal Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency, and it took part for the first time in the UN Conference on Maritime Law, in Caracas.

The number of countries with which the Democratic People's Republic of Korea currently has diplomatic and consular relations rises to approximately 70, and the number of countries with which the Democratic People's Republic of Korea currently has economic relations is over 80.

The recent proposal of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (dating back to March 1974) is to replace the 1953 armistice with a Korean-American peace treaty, which must comprise the following provisions:

  • That the United States commits not to obstruct the peaceful and independent reunification of Korea;
  • That both sides end the arms races;
  • That foreign troops stationed in South Korea cease to be considered as UN troops and then that these troops are withdrawn.

It did not trigger any particular echo, not even amongst socialist countries. The American reaction was limited, for the time being, to a statement from the spokesman of the Department of State, which said that “by requesting the negotiation of a peace treaty with the United States of America, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is planning to exclude South Korea from the negotiations, which the United States cannot accept.”

The Relations of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea with the USSR and with the People’s Republic of China

With the emergence and especially with the aggravation of the Sino-Soviet divergences, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea sought to promote an independent line and to stay out of public disagreements, without always being able to do so.

Therefore, between 1963 and 1965 Korean-Soviet relations were noticeably tense. The North Korean media published several materials in which the Democratic People's Republic of Korea expressed its official discontent towards the manner in which the history of Korea was presented in the Soviet encyclopedia as well as towards the manner in which the “Economic Seminar” in Pyongyang was presented in the Soviet press.

Between 1966 and 1967, on the one hand, there was a rapprochement of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea towards the Soviet Union, from which North Korea received substantial economic aid, and, on the other hand, relations with the People’s Republic of China stalled. The Korean media released certain materials in which it expressed its discontent and disapproval towards the criticism put forward during the Cultural Revolution with respect to the North Korean leadership.

After the visits of Choe Yong-geon [Choe Yong Gon] in the People’s Republic of China (in 1969) and after the visit of Zhou Enlai to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (1970), Korean-Chinese relations have experienced a process of continuous improvement. At the same time, there is a simultaneous reserve in the relations between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the USSR.

Officially it is said that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has good relations with both countries.

[…]

July 18, 1974

Written by Izidor Urian

Typed by Sirbu, C.

3 copies