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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 06, 1978

TELEGRAM 047.011 FROM THE ROMANIAN EMBASSY IN LIBREVILLE TO THE ROMANIAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

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

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    To counter South Korea's interactions with the Government of Gabon, the DPRK takes measures to increase its own exchanges with Gabon.
    "TELEGRAM 047.011 from the Romanian Embassy in Libreville to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs," January 06, 1978, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AMAE, Folder 784/1978, Issue 220: Features of political-diplomatic relations between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and some countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, America (Cyprus, Spain, USA, Bangladesh, Philippines, India, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Central African Republic, Egypt, Gabon, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Mozambique, Syria) January 7, 1978 – September 23, 1978. Obtained and translated for NKIDP by Eliza Gheorghe. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116427
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TELEGRAM 047.011

To: the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (to comrades Cornel Pacoste, Marcel Dinu)

From: the Romanian Embassy in Libreville

Subject: Gabon-North Korea relations

Date: January  6th, 1978

Classification: Secret

From a conversation with the Chargé d’affaires of the DPRK, we gathered the following:

The [North] Korean Ambassador was recalled to [the DPRK] for consultations and for designing certain measures to counter South Korea’s actions, which have yielded certain concrete results in Gabon (the construction of a large store, where the Ministry of Trade and Industry, as well as other institutions, will move); [South Korea] provided doctors free of charge to Gabon (for whom the Gabonese government only had to provide lodging) and is now trying to make an entry into the Gabonese agricultural [sector].

Among the measures to be adopted by the North Koreans, and on which the Gabonese have given their approval, since they only have to cover a very small share of the expenses, or nothing at all, we would like to mention:

  • Building a party cadre training school in Gabon, for which Gabon is providing only the sand, the gravel, and other materials which abundant in Gabon, for instance, timber.

The Chargé d’affaires said that the North Koreans would also request air conditioning and lightning facilities, which the Gabonese [government] does not agree with; in any case, the North Korean leadership decided to build this school free of charge.

  • Building a statue of president Bongo, made out of bronze, reaching a height of over 5 meters. 10 Korean specialists are already in Gabon for completing this work; the contribution of the Gabonese to this work is insignificant.
  • Discussions are being with the Gabonese authorities held regarding the [arrival] of specialists in the field of mass celebrations, like the ones organized for Bongo’s arrival in the DPRK; the Gabonese would provide them only with lodging.
  • [The North Koreans and the Gabonese] are discussing the arrival of 10 North Korean doctors, whom the Gabonese would provide with room and board, but because the doctors from South Korea are already in Gabon, they haven’t reached an agreement yet; [they] hope that the South [Koreans] leave during the first quarter of 1978.

Moreover, the [North Korean] Chargé d’affaires also showed that they are trying to get the approvals for organizing an exhibit with North Korean products that are superior to those from the Gabonese-South-Korean shop.

Signed

Dumitru Câtu