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Digital Archive International History Declassified

1970

REPORT ON THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA

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

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    A report traces the developments in Korea since World War II and examines North Korea’s relations with the Soviet Union as well as China and its position on revisionism.
    "Report on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea," 1970, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AQPPSH, MPP Korese, V. 1970, D 1. Translated by Enkel Daljani. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114402
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The Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea

The DPR of Korea covers a land area of 120,500 km2 and has a population of 12.5 million inhabitants, while South Korea covers 98,400 km2 and a population of around 30 million inhabitants.

The country was liberated by the Red Army in cooperation with the partisan forces on August 15, 1945. In September 1945, the American imperialists disembarked in the south and forcibly established a military administration, thus undermining the talks of the joint soviet-American committee established in December of 1945 in Moscow for the creation of a unified provisional government for Korea.

On September 9, 1948, the creation of the DPR of Korea was announced. On June 25, 1950, the American imperialists ignited an aggressive war, during which, thanks to the resolute struggle of the Korean people and the very great assistance by the Chinese people and volunteers, the armies of 14 different countries, with the USA at their helm, were decimated and in July of 1953 a ceasefire was signed.

With the assistance of the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, and the other socialist countries the almost totally destroyed economy of the country was rebuilt. A high priority in the economic development of the country was given to the heavy industry, which comprises ¾ of the total industrial production and almost fulfills the needs of the country, while the light and food industry has developed relatively slowly and there are deficiencies in the market for certain goods. In the field of agriculture many successes have been achieved, but the quality of life in the village is still very low. For some food articles the rationing system is still in effect.

The political situation in the country is still not very clear; everywhere there is a dominance of the Kim Il Sung cult of individuality. From the fact that in the 5th Congress of the Korean Workers’ Party during the October of last year 5 former members of the Political Committee of the Central Committee were not reelected, shows that there have been contradictions in leadership and that they could have been elements with open pro-soviet revisionist tendencies. In the congress and after it some talk started against revisionism, but with very general phrases and in very rare cases.

The Korean leadership has kept a very inactive position in relation to the encouragement and assistance for the struggle of the people of South Korea, by mainly seeking the achievement of a peaceful solution. Lately, talks between the Red Cross of the North and that of the South have been taking place.

In South Korea there exists the revolutionary party for the reunification of the fatherland. This party has also created a work and battle program, which, if carried out, would be a positive thing.

In its relations with the other parties and countries, the Korean leadership tries to make others believe that it adheres to a “neutral” and “independent” position. During the period of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the relations of Korea with the soviet revisionists became even closer and multileveled. Despite this, between them there have been divergences and contradictions which have been manifested in the cases of the stern reactions by the Koreans to the aggressive activities of the American imperialism, such as in the case of “Pueblo,” the American plane that fell in Korea, etc. and especially in relation to the matter of the closeness and the cooperation between the soviet revisionists and the Japanese militarists.

Initially, the Koreans supported the aggression in Czechoslovakia, but later they remained silent on the matter. At the Moscow Meeting in 1969 and the preparatory meetings for it, they did not even take part as monitors. The have remained silent about the Brezhnev plan for the “collective security” in Asia, as well as about the provocations at the Sino-soviet border.

The relations between Korea and the PR of China have become warmer since after the visit by Choe Yonggeon to China, in October of 1969 and especially after the visit that the delegation of the party and government of the PR of China led by Comrade Zhou Enlai conducted in Korea in April of 1970. During the period of 1970—1971, the ice in the relations between the two countries, created during the period of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, has melted. A great number of party, governmental, military, etc. delegations have been exchanged and the political, economic, cultural, techno-scientific, athletic, etc. cooperation has been strengthened.

The Koreans also try to present themselves as a party and a country, which play an important role in the international arena, as defenders of the unity of the international communist movement and the interests of the peoples of the countries that have gained their independence. They have “special” relations with Cuba and Algeria and are trying to widen their relations with the countries of Asia and Africa.

During these past two years, the Koreans have expressed their support for the cooperation of the 5 countries of Asia: China, Korea, the two Vietnams, Cambodia, and Laos within the framework if a unitary front against the American imperialism and the Japanese militarism.

The diplomatic relations between our country and the DPR of Korea were established on May 17, 1949 and missions at the level of embassies were opened. Every year, trade agreements have been concluded, but due to the transportation difficulties and the cool stance of the Korean side, these agreements have not been fulfilled always and on time. Our country has signed cultural agreements with the DPR of Korea, by the activities have been few and the yearly cultural plans have been signed late. After a cool stance by the Korean side during last year, a readiness and desire on their part for closeness and widening of cooperation can be noticed lately. This has been apparent in both our trade negotiations and in other instances. The Korean side received very warmly and treated as a delegation the agricultural group that went there to learn about the industrialization of fowl and gave them all the necessary assistance. A warm reception was also extended to our Youth delegation that took part in the 4th Congress of Korean Youth. But the Korean side asked that from the greeting speech of our delegation, the part that spoke against the soviet revisionists be removed, and when our delegation refused the request, the Korean side found other means to stop them and did not translate that part into the foreign languages.

We have noticed lately that the Korean ambassador appointed to our country, has been making toasts for the Albanian Labor Party and for Comrade [First Secretary of the Albanian Party of Labour (ALP)] Enver Hoxha in various cases. In the recent times, the Korean press has also written more often about our successes in the socialist construction of our country.