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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 20, 1973


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

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    The DPRK delegation informs the ROK delegation that North Korea agrees with holding inter-Korean discussions among high-level officials.
    "Tenth Meeting between Delegates of North Korea and South Korea," March 20, 1973, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, South Korean Foreign Ministry Archive.
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<Tenth Meeting>

Date and Time: March 20, 1972 10:00-11:15

Location: Panmun-gak, Panmunjeom


North: I have accurately reported Director Lee Hu-rak’s message from Mr. Jeong on the 17th to comrade Kim Yeong-ju [Kim Yong Ju] who is the Director of Organization and Guidance in the Central Committee of our Party.

The Director of Organization and Guidance, Kim Yeong-ju, ordered that I deliver the following message to Mr. Jeong. It is as follows.

“I believe it is very desirable that Director Lee Hu-rak give a grand significance to a meeting with me and that he is actively promoting it. Based on the Director’s suggestion that he send Mr. Jang Gi-yeong, we already invited him and were in the process of discussing the appropriate dates for his visit. However, on the 17th, you suddenly withdrew the proposal to send Mr. Jang Gi-yeong and newly proposed to replace it with an exchange of visits of the two representatives who are already in contact. Our opinion is that we are already past the stage where the liaisons travel to build connections since Director Lee Hu-rak and I have already settled on the meeting in principle. I believe it is time for the high-level officials, who can represent the highest-level officials in discussing national issues openly and frankly, to physically meet. The meetings between myself and Director Lee Hu-rak will contribute to promoting such goals. I sincerely wish to meet with Director Lee Hu-rak in the nearest possible future. When Director Lee Hu-rak visits, we will welcome him as a highly honored guest for he is pursuing such a grand national undertaking and assure you his personal safety as well as full hospitality.

When Director Lee Hu-rak visits, he will be able to meet with the highest-level official. If there are difficulties and inconveniences with Director Lee Hu-rak visiting us, we believe it is possible that we meet in a third country. In addition, if Director Lee Hu-rak is unable to be away from his office for too long, we will also welcome a visit from another high-level official who has the confidence of highest-level official and is able to represent the highest-level official. We believe it is the desired method to rapidly and actively solve the issues of our nation. Also, we have no objections if you’d like to send Representative Jeong Hong-jin to deliver his opinion or letters from the highest-level official or Director Lee Hu-rak.”

South: Will you allow us to interpret your statement as a full agreement to Director Lee Hu-rak’s revised proposal on the 17th?

North: Yes, you may.

South: You mentioned that we are already past the stage of liaison exchange visits since Director Lee Hu-rak and Director of Organization and Guidance Kim Yeong-ju agreed on a high-level officials’ meeting. Does this mean that you welcome Director Lee Hu-rak withdrawing Mr. Jang Gi-yeong’s visit?

North: It means that we agree to Director Lee Hu-rak’s active proposal.

South: In the end of your statement, you stated that there has to be a specific purpose when I (Jeong Hong-jin) visit, what does that mean?

North: When Mr. Jeong visits us, the purpose should be to deliver Director Lee Hu-rak’s personal letter or his direct opinion (emphasized direct opinion). It is correct that you understand that Mr. Jeong and I (Kim Deok-hyeon [Kim Tok Hyon]) exchange unrestricted visits (Kim Deok-hyeon was in a good mood throughout and it seemed that he received new trust and encouragement from Kim Yeong-ju). When will it be a good time to meet again to hear your response?

South: Since we have completely agreed to in-person meetings between the high-level officials, we should each examine the issues regarding the meeting. We should meet at 10:00, the 22nd at Freedom House.