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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 17, 1982

HUNGARIAN EMBASSY IN THE DPRK, REPORT, 17 NOVEMBER 1982. SUBJECT: THE VISIT OF PAKISTANI PRESIDENT ZIA UL-HAQ IN THE DPRK.

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

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    Sándor Etre offers an analysis of Pakistani President Zia ul-Haq's visit to the DPRK and North Korea's efforts to influence the Non-Aligned Movement.
    "Hungarian Embassy in the DPRK, Report, 17 November 1982. Subject: The visit of Pakistani President Zia ul-Haq in the DPRK. ," November 17, 1982, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MOL, XIX-J-1-j Pakistan, 1982, 113. doboz, 119-103, 006668/1982. Obtained and translated for NKIDP by Balazs Szalontai. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116017
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On 23-26 October 1982, Pakistani President Zia ul-Haq paid an official state visit to the DPRK. The visit was based on an invitation made two years before, at which time it had been postponed because of the death of Tito.

No joint communique was published with regard to the visit, [but] they signed an agreement on economic, scientific, technical, and cultural cooperation, and agreed to establish of a joint commission to implement these agreements. All this indicates that one should lay the main emphasis on the economic significance of the visit; the political [aspects] were only of a secondary importance. This seems to have been caused not only by the different social systems of the two countries but also by their [different] relationship with the United States and its policies. Presumably this relationship influenced the statements in the toasts made by the two presidents. Analyzing these [statements], the following issues appear worth mentioning:

  • Both heads of state declared that the relations between the two countries were good at every level. This is based on their common interests, their efforts to achieve independence, peaceful co-existence, the unity of the Non-Aligned Movement, and world peace, their struggle to alleviate tension in the region, and so on. Concerning the latter issue, Zia ul-Haq also mentioned that certain countries wanted to dominate others—for example, in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Cambodia –, and foreign troops should be withdrawn from the [occupied] countries, the sooner, the better.
  • Both heads of state highlighted the importance of the Third World countries and the Non-Aligned Movement in the struggle for peace and détente. Only Kim Il Sung mentioned the struggle against imperialism, and even this reference was of a general nature.
  • Although the Pakistani president expressed his support to the DPRK’s efforts to achieve national unification, but he did so only in general terms, making no reference to the Goryeo confederation.

According to the information available to us, during the visit Kim Il Sung asked for Pakistan’s support to that the 8th summit of the non-aligned countries be held in Pyongyang. Zia ul-Haq gave an evasive reply by saying that [the 8th summit] was still far away, and thus one should first make preparations for the 7th one.

Before he left for home, at the Pakistani embassy Zia ul-Haq held a discussion with the heads of the following diplomatic missions accredited to Pyongyang: Indonesia, Egypt, Iran, Libya, Algeria, and the representative of the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization]. Three issues were placed on the agenda of the discussion:

  • Pakistan’s domestic and foreign policy in the coming years;
  • strengthening the unity of the Islamic countries;
  • the problems of the non-aligned countries.

We have not gained yet access to more information about the meeting.   

In our opinion, which is also shared by the Soviet and other fraternal or Third World diplomats, the visit—particularly in a political sense—failed to yield the expected result for the DPRK, and this [problem] was not solved by the fact that the two heads of state repeatedly emphasized the good relations between the two countries, and that both were members of the same progressive movement.   

For instance, several international issues that are important for the DPRK, such as the struggle against American imperialism and the withdrawal of American troops from South Korea, were not mentioned, and even national unification was covered only in general terms. Presumably this is why the DPRK failed to react to the problem of Cambodia and Afghanistan, albeit in these questions the [Pakistani and North Korean] opinions have much in common.

In the Non-Aligned Movement, the two countries are motivated by different political objectives, and this fact may also have caused difficulties. It is still doubtful whether the DPRK’s efforts to hold the 8th summit in Pyongyang will be successful, for the DPRK lacks a clear, progressive, direction-setting program for the future of the movement that the majority of the non-aligned countries could unanimously accept. The chuch’e idea cannot be a substitute for that. The situation of the DPRK might become even more difficult if in New Delhi, the majority of the non-aligned countries possibly gives its consent to South Korea’s admission to the movement.

Behind the visit of Zia ul-Haq, one can discern China’s influence on both countries. This influence is similar in Pakistan and the DPRK in the respect that China intends to use both [countries] for its hegemonic aspirations.

The economic significance of the visit is clearly demonstrated by the agreements signed [on this occasion]. Although the publications made no reference to this issue, we have obtained unconfirmed information—[from] an Indian diplomat—about that the DPRK asked for Pakistani technology in the field of the peaceful use of atomic energy, and for its consent to the purchase of certain facilities. The Pakistani president gave an evasive reply by referring to the contracts which [Pakistan] had signed with the USA and other developed capitalist countries.

Sándor Etre

ambassador