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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 16, 1978

HUNGARIAN EMBASSY IN PAKISTAN, TELEGRAM, 16 MARCH 1978. SUBJECT: DPRK-PAKISTANI RELATIONS

This document was made possible with support from the ROK Ministry of Unification, Leon Levy Foundation

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    The Hungarian Embassy in Pakistan reports that the main purpose of the unofficial visit of Pak Seong-cheol to Pakistan was to dissuade the new leadership from changing its stance in the issue of Korean unification. Pakistan confirmed that the DPRK-Pakistan relation would remain friendly and requested arms support.
    "Hungarian Embassy in Pakistan, Telegram, 16 March 1978. Subject: DPRK-Pakistani relations," March 16, 1978, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MOL, XIX-J-1-j Korea, 1978, 80. doboz, 81-1, 002339/1978. Obtained and translated for NKIDP by Balazs Szalontai. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116009
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The main purpose of the unofficial visit that North Korean Vice-President Pak Seong-cheol paid [to Pakistan] on March 10-13th was to dissuade the new Pakistani leadership from re-examining Pakistan’s previous standpoint on the issue of Korean unification. Our North Korean friends anxiously monitor South Korea’s advance on the [Indian] subcontinent, which is indicated by the elevation of Sri Lankan-[South Korean] diplomatic relations to the ambassadorial level. According to the leaked news, Kim Il Sung’s message called the Pakistani leadership’s attention to that South Korea, with American support, was making preparations to launch a war on the DPRK, and asked for Pakistan’s mediation to prevent that.

In confidential conversations, the Pakistani side confirmed that despite the removal of Bhutto from power, they do not intend to make changes in the bilateral relations between Pakistan and the DPRK, and they will maintain the friendly relationship. Despite the American pressure, they will not modify the status of the South Korean diplomatic mission from consulate-general [to embassy]. In the question of Korean reunification, they support the North Korean efforts “to create a unified Korea under the leadership of Kim Il Sung,” which are based on the resolutions of the UN. According to the information available to Pakistan, the United States was not making preparations to start a new military conflict on the Korean Peninsula, because this would halt the Sino-American rapprochement.

The Pakistani government asked North Korea to intensify its efforts to rearm the Pakistani armed forces, and increase its arms shipments—small arms and anti-armor weapons.

According to journalists, they were given such a promise [by the DPRK].

In sum: The Pakistani military leadership linked the continuation of its political support to the DPRK to the increase of arms shipments from North Korea. Pak Seong-cheol’s visit was given unusually great publicity. Up to now, the DPRK ambassador has made only very general statements about the purpose of the visit; he neither refuted nor confirmed the information we had obtained about the objective of the visit. (A more detailed report will be sent by courier.)  

35 – D.