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Digital Archive International History Declassified

December 12, 1972

NOTE ON INFORMATION BY DPRK DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER COMRADE RI JONG-MOK ON 9 DECEMBER 1972 FOR THE AMBASSADORS AND ACTING AMBASSADORS OF POLAND, BULGARIA, HUNGARY, CZECHOSLOVAKIA, ROMANIA, AND THE GDR BETWEEN 1000 AND 1125 HOURS

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

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    Ri Jong-mok reports on the third meeting of the Joint Chairmen of the Coordination Committee and on the first Session of the North-South Coordinating Committee in Seoul.
    "Note on Information by DPRK Deputy Foreign Minister Comrade Ri Jong-mok on 9 December 1972 for the Ambassadors and Acting Ambassadors of Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and the GDR between 1000 and 1125 hours ," December 12, 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/114567
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GDR Embassy to DPRK

Political Department

Pyongyang, 12 December 1972

N o t e

On an Information by DPRK Deputy Foreign Minister

Comrade Ri Jong-mok [Ri Jong Mok] on 9 December 1972 for the

Ambassadors and Acting Ambassadors of Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and the GDR between 1000 and 1125 hours

Comrade Ri Jong-mok informed the attendants based on a written manuscript about the third meeting of the Joint Chairmen of the Coordination Committee and about the 1st Session of the North-South Coordinating Committee on 13 November in Seoul.

Comrade Ri Jong-mok reported about the following:

Both meetings were held in closed sessions. There had been agreement between South and North to hold the 1st Session of the Coordinating Committee in Seoul. Our side agreed to conclude the third meeting of the Joint Chairmen with a public announcement on the formation of the Coordinating Committee, and then start right away with the opening of the 1st Session of this committee. The formation of a Coordinating Committee had been agreed upon earlier.

The 1st Session of the Coordinating Committee lasted for two days. On the first day our side gave a general address. The second day the South Koreans had their say. In our speech we went more concretely on proposals we already tabled during the second meeting of the Joint Chairmen, including questions on reduction of armed forces. During the 1st Session our side took completely the initiative. We had to notice that the adversary had not studied the proposals we previously made during the second meeting in Pyongyang.

As the Dear and Beloved Leader had taught, one must trust each other in order to serve the great cause of the nation. Reduction of armed forces and the end of the arms race are expressions of such trust.

However, the South Koreans did not address our proposals. Then the enemy side declared that this question must be resolved once the level of trust between both sides has increased.

The South Korean side blabbered that it is buying arms since all along the border there had been attacks by the DPRK against South Korea. Thus it would be dangerous to reduce the armed forces. We refuted the preposterous claims of the enemies and stated that actually there had been attacks from South Korea towards the Northern side. We demanded from the enemies to refrain in the future from this kind of statement.

U.S. imperialism is still occupying South Korea. Spy plane over-flights and surveillance from respective ships is conducted against the Northern part of the republic. There is no DPRK intention to attack the South. The Korean People’s Army is of defensive character against U.S. imperialism. We do not intend to impose our opinion on the South Korean side. Yet we will consequently pursue the goal to lower the mistrust between each other.

The South Korean side stated, however, that mistrust towards the Northern part is still strong among [South Korean] people. For that reason we cannot talk about disarmament yet. In any case, this question must be resolved on higher levels, they said.

We made more detailed proposals for concrete steps of cooperation between North and South. We suggested starting with the field of culture. First we should conduct joint analysis of the language, and then cooperate jointly in the fields of art and historical research. We further proposed joint movie production, to field joint sports teams, and to create a respective committee to coordinate cultural cooperation.

Concerning cooperation in economic areas we offered joint exploitation of iron ore resources in the North. Also we proposed a joint search for mineral resources in the South, a joint fishery, to build irrigation projects in the South, and to create a respective committee for economic cooperation. However, the side of the enemy did not respond to our proposals.

They replied to limit cooperation only to a few selected cultural and economic projects and gradually increase this cooperation. Economic cooperation, according to the enemy side, should consist in an exchange of trade. There could not be cooperation in certain cultural areas as those touches on ideological questions. Therefore this would be extraordinarily difficult, they said. Also the South Korea side declared that there is no need for a joint organ on cultural cooperation.

We proposed to publish a joint announcement about the meeting. The South Koreans agreed, yet insisted to include only secondary issues in the announcement.

Comrade Ri Jong-mok then addressed this meanwhile published Joint Announcement and continued: Our side rose during the meeting the question of ending the slander against the Northern part. We declared we will act reciprocally if the South Korean side halts its slanders against us. Yet the side of the enemy attempted to camouflage the slander against us with the argument that not all broadcast and print media can be controlled in the South. We [in North Korea] would have it much easier, as all broadcast and print mass media are under state control. Therefore we should stop our slandering of the South. We retorted if this is the case, then why did the South Korean side initially accept the agreement about the cessation of mutual slander? With this question we completely pushed the other side into a cul-de-sac.

Deputy Minister [Ri Jong-mok] reported the following on Pak Seong-cheol [Pak Song Chol]’s reception by Park Chung Hee: At the meeting with Park Chung Hee five people each were present on both sides. The talk lasted 30 minutes. We stated that unification by our own force must be achieved at all costs. Yet the main preconditions are mutual trust and disarmament. We asked Park Chung Hee what he wants to do in this regard. He did not respond to the content of this question. He just remarked one has to approach the tasks step by step. Today the North as well as the South does employ armed forces whose maintenance exceeds the potential of both sides. Yet the time has not matured to discuss questions of disarmament. It has to be addressed at a different time. Currently issues of [Inter-Korean] rapprochement must be dealt with in the Red Cross negotiations. In the economic field issues of trade between both Korean parts ought to be addressed.

These remarks by Park Chung Hee absolutely demonstrated that the enemies follow duplicitous tactics. They show that they have no interest in the country’s unification whatsoever. They just want to negotiate with us about some accumulation of forces and coexistence. This way they want to harness us. The South Korean side is afraid about socialist influence from the North on its people. Though this is not our goal, we do intend to democratize society in South Korea and ignore their duplicity.

As the Dear and Beloved Leader stated, we will not allow the enemies to shut the door pushed open through our pressure.

In answering questions by the ambassadors of Poland and Bulgaria, Comrade Ri Jong-mok also stated this:

  • The question of diplomatic cooperation was not addressed during the 1st Session of the Coordinating Committee. It was only briefly touched during the discussion on questions of cultural cooperation.
  • The issue of foreign credits also played no role in the talks. We are able to build irrigation projects with our own people, and with our own material. Yet in ignorance of this the enemies attempt to solicit foreign aid.
  • Influential circles in Japan have come out in favor of recognizing the DPRK. Yet the South Korean government attempts to undermine this. Under the cover of peaceful unification of the country, the South Korean puppets try to enhance their international prestige. Given these conditions, it is of great importance that the fraternal countries continue to unmask the South Korean puppets in the international arena. This will support the struggle of the DPRK people.

Erich Merten

Acting Ambassador

CC:

1x Foreign Ministry

1x Central Committee, Department IV

1x Embassy