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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 09, 1972

NOTE ON INFORMATION BY DPRK DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER COMRADE RI MAN-SEOK ON 8 NOVEMBER 1972 FOR THE AMBASSADORS OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA AND POLAND AND THE ACTING AMBASSADORS OF THE GDR IN THE FOREIGN MINISTRY

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

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    Ri Man-seok discusses the development of diplomatic, political, and military relations between the two Koreas.
    "Note on Information by DPRK Deputy Foreign Minister Comrade Ri Man-seok on 8 November 1972 for the Ambassadors of Czechoslovakia and Poland and the Acting Ambassadors of the GDR in the Foreign Ministry ," November 09, 1972, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PolA AA, MfAA, C 951/76. Obtained and translated by Bernd Schaefer. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114565
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GDR Embassy to DPRK

Political Department

Pyongyang, 9 November 1972

N o t e

On an Information by DPRK Deputy Foreign Minister

Comrade Ri Man-seok [Ri Man Sok] on 8 November 1972 for the Ambassadors of Czechoslovakia and Poland and the Acting Ambassadors of the GDR in the Foreign Ministry

Comrade Ri Man-seok informed the comrades in attendance about the results of the 2nd Session of the North-South Coordinating Committee in Pyongyang between 2 and 4 November 1972. Based on a written manuscript he outlined the following:

When analyzing the behavior of the South Korean side, we have to conclude that their main focus is to stay in power and cement the status quo. During the meeting’s first day already, it was notable that the South organs were not prepared for negotiations and focused only on those questions raised from our side. The North Korean delegation spoke first. We talked about the question of coexistence and cooperation and actively raised the role of the North-South Coordinating Committee. The South Korean side was unable to propose concrete measures.

Right after his arrival, Lee Hu-rak stated his wish to talk with the Dear and Beloved Leader Comrade Kim Il Sung. He [Lee] requested to organize for himself to be received by him [Kim Il Sung]. On 3 November the Dear and Beloved Leader Comrade Kim Il Sung received before the resumption of talks Lee Hu-rak and his entourage and outlined the DPRK position in programmatic fashion.

After he had proposed last time [during his meeting with Lee Hu-rak in June 1972] the three principles and concrete paths towards independent peaceful unification, this time he talked about specific measures and made smart proposals for cooperation between North and South in various areas. General Secretary Comrade Kim Il Sung stated that dialogue between North and South has to be a dialogue in the name of cooperation and unification rather then of confrontation and division. The Coordinating Committee is an organ of cooperation and not of confrontation. Initially it is necessary to cooperate on economic and cultural fields and later on political ones as well. Regarding the question of economic cooperation, General Secretary Comrade Kim Il Sung explained how there are many unemployed in South Korea and how they are sold to other countries. Such actions have to come to a halt. There is the option to mine resources through joint labor. On a basis of economic exchange between North and South we have the option to employ South Korean unemployed. The North could deliver machines, equipment, iron ore and other mineral resources; the South could export to the North products from agriculture and light industries. There is also the possibility of joint fishery with free usage of the seas of both the North and the South. The North could help the South in the building of irrigation systems based on extensive Northern experiences in this field. We could develop a division of labor between North and South. On the question of cooperation in the areas of science and culture, General Secretary Kim Il Sung stated that, for instance, the mother language in South Korea is permeated with Japanese and American terms. With joint efforts by linguistic experts from both sides the language could be unified and problems of science and culture solved.

On military cooperation Kim Il Sung proposed the option to reduce arms, military production, and the number of armed forces. We could agree that both South and North Korea will have an army of 100,000 men each, sufficient for the defense of the country.

Concerning political cooperation Comrade Kim Il Sung proposed to create a system of confederation. While maintaining the socialist order in the North and the social order in the South, we can build a confederation and create comprehensive cooperation and broad exchange in political, economic, cultural, and military areas.

If Lee Hu-rak would have rejected these proposals by General Secretary Comrade Kim Il Sung, he would have shown his true face of a traitor to the nation. For that reason he replied that everything said represents a good and necessary cause. He raised no objections against the building of a confederation. Although he had not eyed himself the need for a confederation, he said it is possible that Park Chung Hee might see its necessity. After his departure to Seoul he will inform Park Chung Hee about his talk with General Secretary Kim Il Sung. Thus we can assess that the proposals of the Dear and Beloved Leader Comrade Kim Il Sung have been accepted by the South Korean side.

Guided by the line as instructed by General Secretary Kim Il Sung concerning cooperation between North and South, we talked at the meeting about basic questions mandatory to solve in order to realize the cooperation.

For the realization of cooperation between North and South we proposed to realize the primary requirements of halting the anti-communist policy, implementing the withdrawal of American forces, and to end the revived aggression of Japanese imperialism in South Korea. In South Korea you need to allow for broad democracy, to secure political freedoms for the people’s masses, like freedom of speech, press freedom, right of assembly, to organize, to demonstrate, etc.; to facilitate political activities of opposition parties, and to release political prisoners. We demand that the activities of those in South Korea will have to be made illegal that come out against peaceful unification. Lee Hu-rak refrained from giving a comprehensive answer. He agreed that anti-communist propaganda must end, and he stated that after elections and the adoption of the constitution restrictions against political parties will be lifted. The South Korean side will review the question of releasing political prisoners. We added to our proposal that, if the prisoners cannot be released right away, one ought to at least halt executions. Lee Hu-rak agreed to review this request.

According to the line provided by the Dear and Beloved Leader Comrade Kim Il Sung, the “Agreement on Composition and Protocol of the North-South Coordinating Committee ” and its joint announcement was passed and made public accordingly. The North Korean draft proposal for both documents was approved in principle by the South Korean side.

During the talks the South Korean side argued against an authoritative Coordinating Committee that could fully claim its functions. The South Koreans objected to a clear outline on questions of cooperation between South and North as one of the Coordinating Committee’s assignments, and against an exact framework for its members and their roles. It was the South Korean aim to delay solutions to this question and to create a crippled institution. We insisted that the Coordinating Committee must consist of representatives with the rank of ministers or their deputies in order to turn it into an authoritative organ. Ultimately a decision was made according to our proposal.

During negotiations it was also discussed to end the future broadcasts directed to the other side of the country and along the DMZ, and to refrain from dropping leaflets on the other side’s territory. The South Korean side informed that anti-communism and polemics ad slander against the North will end. They requested us to act accordingly. We agreed with this.

While drafting the agreement and the public announcement, we had tedious discussions about the problem of cooperation between North and South. The South demanded not to include the term “cooperation between North and South” in the public announcement. They argued the term “cooperation” is a reminder to the cooperation between the Chinese Communist Party and the Guomindang Party which ultimately resulted in turning China into a communist country. This phrase, they said, will be perceived negatively by the educated elite in South Korea. Therefore it was agreed to choose a true Korean term for cooperation that can be translated as “working jointly with united force.” We hold the opinion that this term essentially expresses the same what we had proposed. Thus the South Korean side was forced to acknowledge the issue of cooperation as proposed by Kim Il Sung, and to undertake another step towards the realization of the Joint Declaration. As evidence for the complicated discussions we had, there was the fact that the South Korean delegation initially wanted to fly out of Pyongyang at 900 hours but eventually left at 1300 hours.

During the talks Lee Hu-rak proposed to hold talks between both sides on the highest level. Yet both sides agreed that such talks are not realistic any more during the current year though they might be realized in the future.

Note: Probably this refers to a meeting between Kim Il Sung and Park Chung Hee.

In general we can say, Comrade Ri Man-seok continued, the 2nd Session was successful. It will be interesting to watch how the South Korean side will implement the tasks we agreed upon. The South Korean side treats these questions very formally, they want to fix the status quo, and thus they are not sincerely interested in implementing the tasks. For these reasons we think that a long and tough struggle is still ahead of us.

Comrade Ri Man-seok then commented on the DPRK positions towards the state of national emergency and constitutional revisions in South Korea. He stated the following:

The essence of declaring a state of national emergency and to revise the constitution reflects the aim to secure Park Chung Hee’s stay in power for a long time, to repress the political parties, and to level the score in the [North-South] talks to 1:1. According to the constitution, they will form a “National Assembly of Unification and Juche” to elect the President. His term will be unlimited. As a pretext to change the constitution Park Chung Hee declared such necessary to conduct the dialogue [with the North], as the old constitution would contain anti-communist provisions.

The KWP Political Committee frequently discussed whether we should condemn events in the South, or whether we should wait with this. We are of the opinion that, if we condemn the events, the currently open door between North and South will be slammed and shut. As a consequence, the country would continue to be divided. Therefore we have arrived at the conclusion not to provoke the closing of this door. If we criticize their [the South Koreans’] actions, it will result in further repression of the opposition parties. This way we would lose both options [peaceful unification and Southern uprising]. The South Korean side has only opened the door to the North since it was forced to do so. Currently it is looking for reasons to withdraw from this commitment. It is our conclusion that we must not provide them with a pretext: This way we will lose all opportunities to unfold in South Korea the activities of political opposition parties, and other activities as well. This year of travel between North and South was helpful for us as we gained option to exert a certain direct influence. This is why we changed our original plan to publish an article condemning the emergency measures in South Korea. We criticize them fiercely internally in the country without letting this criticism filter into the public. We have the intention to continue with implementing our line with patience, and to further develop the peaceful offensive.

In conclusion of this information, Comrade Ri Man-seok asked the fraternal countries to continue their active support for the struggle of the Korean people, to exert pressure on the puppets in the South and to isolate them, and thus contribute to the continuation of the [North-South] dialogue. Naturally, the conduct of this dialogue will remain an internal matter of the Korean people.

In response to this statement, the Czechoslovak ambassador thanked in the name of the comrades in attendance for the provided briefing.

Merten

Acting Ambassador

CC:

1x Foreign Ministry, Far Eastern Department

1x Central Committee, Department IV

1x Embassy, Political Department