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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 17, 1978


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

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    While Kim Gyeon-yeon wants to reach an exclusive agreement with the Central African Republic, the Central African Republic seeks to gain favors from both Koreas.
    "TELEGRAM 016.734 from the Romanian Embassy in Bangui to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs," August 17, 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.
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TELEGRAM 016.734

To: the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Third Directorate)

From: the Romanian Embassy in Bangui

Subject: Relations between the Central African Empire and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Date: August 17th, 1978

Classification: Secret

Between July 3 and August 16 1978, a [North] Korean delegation led by Kim Gyeong-yeon the [North] Korean Minister of Finance, has visited the Central African Republic to implement the agreements reached on the occasion of Emperor Bokassa’s visit to the DPRK in May 1978. The [North] Korean delegation was received by Emperor Bokassa and by the [Central African] Prime Minister Henri Maidou; [the North Korean delegation] had numerous discussions with local officials and visited 10 industrial and agricultural facilities, among which the Romanian-Central African joint venture Lorombois. The Korean specialists pressed the Central African Empire authorities to provide them with details on the volume and guarantees for investments, the repayment of loans, the fiscal code, the profitability of firms, the special payments for foreign specialists, the degree of qualification of the local work force, the use of production on internal and external markets, etc. The [North] Korean delegation managed to get, although only partially and after extraordinary persistence, documents which touched upon, although only marginally, the issues they were interested in.

On the occasion of the final talks, with Prime Minister Henri Maidou, [Finance] Minister did not commit himself to building any of the facilities discussed (the wood industry plant, the soap factory, the ceramics factory, and the irrigated rice farm). Displaying a certain degree of unhappiness, Henri Maidou said: ‘it is clear that there are still difficulties and complex problems [we] must look into, but the two sides must undertake immediate efforts so that the agreements signed in Pyongyang are implemented by the end of the year.’

The [North] Korean diplomats told us that the Central Africans proposed investments projects for the aforementioned facilities worth approximately $22 billion, being completely uneconomical and unrealistic, without an economic basis [for these demands]. At the same time, it is noteworthy that although the DPRK delegation was still in Bangui, the Central Africans put special emphasis on their relations with the regime in Seoul, on the occasion of [South Korea’s] national day, August 14, 1978. The warm telegram sent by Emperor Bokassa, referring to the necessity to reunify Korea democratically, [and] the level of participation to the reception offered by the South Korean Embassy hint at the fact that the Central African Empire will continue to draw the two Koreas into a competition [against each other] so that the [Central African Empire] can extract as many economic advantages as possible.

Written by M. Georgescu


Ambassador N. Tăbîrcă