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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 30, 1974

MEETING BETWEEN MINISTER HONG AND THE SOVIET AMBASSADOR TO RWANDA

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

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    South Korean Minister Hong and the Ambassador of the Soviet Union to Rwanda, Grigory Vasilyevich, discuss the Soviet Union's position toward the Korean issue as well as perspectives on the PRC-DPRK relationship.
    "Meeting between Minister Hong and the Soviet Ambassador to Rwanda," January 30, 1974, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archives. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114582
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114582

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Meeting between Minister Hong and the Ambassador of the Soviet Union to Rwanda

1. Meeting Date: January 30, 1974
2. Meeting Location: Residence of the Soviet Ambassador to Rwanda ([Grigory Vasilyevich] Zhilyakov)

3. Meeting Background: Minister Hong visited [the Soviet Ambassador] to bid farewell. Hong was leaving his post.

4. Meeting Details

Soviet: I am pleased to have had a close personal relationship with you. The reason I was unable to make it to your farewell reception hosted by the American Deputy Ambassador was because if I went, North Koreans would crowd the Foreign Affairs Department of the Soviet Union and complain about my attendance.

KOR: I appreciate your kindness, and I ask for your cooperation in contacting the Soviet ambassadors [illegible] and ministers in Brussels.

Soviet: The Soviet government has two basic standpoints. First, [the Soviet Union] does not wish to be engaged in [Korean matters] before any agreement is reached through discussion between the [governments of the] divided country. Secondly, any and all issues must be resolved through peaceful measures. Therefore, establishing a relationship between [South] Korea and the Soviet Union depends on how the conversation between the South and the North progresses.

This standpoint is the same as the Soviet Union’s standpoint towards Germany. We believe that economy and trade should be discussed first by promoting discussions between the South and the North.

KOR: [South] Korea suggested a joint-entry to the UN and also a nonaggression treaty. However, North Korea rejects these suggestions. What is your opinion[?]

Soviet: In Europe, acknowledging the actual situation [of the region] is facilitating the relationship between East and West Germany; there is no reason why the acknowledgment of the actual situation in Asia shouldn’t be applied to the Korean issue. We must seek to solve the Korean issue by recognizing two governments in the Korean Peninsula. How do you view Communist China’s influence over North Korea?

KOR: This is my personal opinion, but I believe Beijing’s influence over North Korea will rise up to ninety-percent if not for Moscow’s influence. As you can see in Rwanda, North Korea-Communist China relations are as if they were a son and a father.

Soviet: Their relationship is not of a son and a father. It is rather a relationship between a landlord and a peasant. Mao Zedong is not immortal. Therefore, when he is gone, change will come.

KOR: Thank you again for your kind hospitality. No one ever knows, but we may meet again in Moscow or Seoul.

Soviet: We will meet again much earlier in Brussels in July or August. I am aware that we will meet each other in Brussels on my way back to Moscow.

5. Reference Notes

A. Minister Hong was invited to and attended a movie event at the Embassy of the Soviet Union in Rwanda (January 3). The U.S. Deputy Ambassador mentioned that he is certain that the Soviet Ambassador issued the invitation upon receiving approval from Moscow.

B. The [Soviet] Ambassador’s main interest was to collect information on Communist China. Even after Minister Hong’s transfer to Brussels, he intended to maintain contact through the ambassador and the minister. That is, the [Soviet] Ambassador [to Rwanda] had mentioned, the Soviet ambassador to Belgium is a friend of his and the minister was his student, and he wished to maintain contact between us and the Soviet diplomats.