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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 10, 1965

RECORD OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN THE CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO THE SOVIET UNION PAN ZILI AND THE NORTH KOREAN AMBASSADOR TO THE SOVIET UNION KIM BYEONG-JIK

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    A conversation between the Chinese Ambassador to the Soviet Union Pan Zili and the North Korean Ambassador to the Soviet Union Kim Byeong-jik on Asian-African-Latin American student protest against the United States in Moscow on 4 March. North Korea supported the positions of Vietnamese and Chinese governments. Both China and North Korea demanded that United States must withdraw from the territory of Vietnam and stop the provocations against North Vietnam.
    "Record of Conversation between the Chinese Ambassador to the Soviet Union Pan Zili and the North Korean Ambassador to the Soviet Union Kim Byeong-jik," March 10, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 109-03628-01, 74-83. Obtained by Shen Zhihua and translated by Jeffrey Wang and Charles Kraus. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116552
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116552

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Ambassador Kim [Byeong-jik] [Kim Pyong Jik] first said that he had received instructions from his country last night to convey the following to Ambassador Pan [Zili]: “I would like to forward the opinions of the Korean [Workers’] Party, government, and people on the Asian-African-Latin American student protest against the United States in Moscow on 4 [March] to you. That Asian, African, and Latin American students in Moscow demonstrated against U.S. provocations in Vietnam and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam is a good thing. In the process of this good thing, because of the unwarranted repression and obstruction of the Soviet side, many students were injured, including Chinese and Vietnamese students. We regret this. Our country’s entire population is outraged at the Soviet side’s unwarranted repression and has expressed condolences to the participants in the demonstrations and the injured students. Despite Soviet repression of this demonstration, despite that there were casualties during this just struggle, the final victory will belong to us. My government has already made explicit statements on the situation in Vietnam and in the future my people will continue to support the struggle of the Vietnamese people together with the Chinese people. My people will work with the Vietnamese people through thick and thin and through adversity.  My Party and government completely support the positions [put forth by] the Vietnamese people to resolve the Vietnam issue, such as through a negotiated settlement and on the premise that the United States must withdraw from the territory of Vietnam and stop the insane provocations against North Vietnam. We also fully support and agree with the Chinese people who, in this situation, have supported and assisted the Vietnamese peoples’ struggle against U.S. imperialism in many different ways. That students from Asia and Africa demonstrated in front of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow is beneficial to us. We fully support this demonstration. Although our students did not participate, as our country has no students studying abroad in the Soviet Union, our hearts will always be with [the student protestors]. Some news agencies reported that Korean students also participated in the demonstrations. These reports have no connection [to reality]. This is a good thing. I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of my Party, government, and people to express deep indignation against the Soviet side’s unwarranted repression of the demonstrators and to express our sympathy to the injured students. In the future, in the struggle against the unjust performances of imperialism and revisionism, we will always stand together with the Chinese people. Please convey my message to the Chinese people.”

Ambassador Pan thanked Comrade Ambassador for conveying support and sympathy for our students who participated in the demonstrations in Moscow against the United States’ aggression in Vietnam and for the comrades who were injured on behalf of the Korean Workers’ Party, government, and people. Ambassador Pan then described in detail how  the Soviet government had sent a large number of military and police to violently suppress the students from a number of countries, including China and Vietnam; the Soviet side’s unwarranted treatment of our injured and hospitalized students, [how] they were not treated and expelled from the hospital; how Foreign Minister [Andrei] Gromyko had issued a note of protest and oral statement and made representations; and how the Chinese Federation of Students and foreign students in Moscow had offered their condolences to the injured students. Ambassador Pan also said that domestically the Xinhua News Agency had reported that Korean students participated in the march. The Soviet TASS Agency and Pravda had published this news, [so] the Xinhua News Agency may have [published] this news based on these reports. We know that there are no [North] Korean students here.

Ambassador Pan then discussed the Vietnam issue, stating that the American imperialists’ invasion of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam is [equivalent to] an invasion of all socialist countries. We are very happy to hear Ambassador Kim say that the [North] Korean people will do everything in their power to support the anti-imperialist struggle of the Vietnamese people. [We are] very pleased to hear Ambassador Kim state that, in the future, we will always stand together in the struggle against U.S. imperialism and revisionism. I agree with Comrade Ambassador’s view that the premise of a negotiated solution to the Vietnam issue is a U.S. military withdrawal from Vietnam. [If] the Americans withdraw from Indochina, the problems there will be immediately solved. Right now the problem is [what if] the Americans do not withdraw, but [instead] expand the war and extend military operations from South Vietnam into the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Under these circumstances, when the United States is unwilling to resolve the Vietnam issue, it is unrealistic for us to propose peace negotiations. It would give an impression of weakness to the imperialists. The conditions and time are not yet ripe for peace negotiations. I have talked about this issue with the Vietnamese Ambassador. He said that Vietnam also thinks that the time is not right. The Soviet Union proposed peace talks, [but] Vietnam did not agree. Although the United States [faces] difficult circumstances in Vietnam, it is still adopting a military provocations approach. In more than a month, [it] has bombed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam five times and, at the same time, has deployed fleets from the sea to carry out war provocations. Under these circumstances, the Soviet proposal to solve this issue through negotiations with the Americans gives an impression of weakness to the U.S. threat. This is unfavorable to the Vietnamese peoples’ struggle.

Ambassador Kim said that he did not understand [why] the Soviet Union had deployed the military and police and the cavalry to repress the student demonstrators, or [why] they had used cars to barricade and block the students. Since the Soviet side allowed the march, why did they act this way? If it is only because the Soviet Union and United States have diplomatic relations, then the Soviet Union did not need to act this way. If they are fulfilling the obligation to protect the American Embassy, why should they notify the U.S. Embassy in advance? The U.S. Embassy was well prepared in advance—the windows on the first three floors were blocked with wood. Ambassador Pan said that the reason [they warned the U.S. of the march in advance] is very simple. It was meant to curry favor with the United States and out of fear of offending the U.S. Ambassador Pan also said that if the Soviet side had not put down the march, at most the students would have held a rally in front of the U.S. Embassy, calling out anti-imperialist slogans and pasting up banners. Maybe using ink bottles to break glass. Ambassador Pan said that this much would have been better than what happened.

Ambassador Kim said that Ambassador Pan’s views about not being able to resolve the Vietnam issue through negotiations are correct. The Vietnamese people are actively carrying out an anti-American struggle. The time is not right to propose peace talks right now. Peace talks are possible, but [we] want to wait until the United States pleads guilty (the Russian [sic] original says when the United States takes off its hat). The resolution of the Korean issue is the same. As long as the United States stays in South Korea, then the Korean issue cannot be resolved—even in one-hundred years. Ambassador Pan said that the Chinese people and government will always stand together with the Korean people and government in opposing the U.S. invasion [of Korea], in defending [Korea’s] own sovereignty, and in demanding the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea. We have always supported the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s policy for the peaceful reunification of Korea. Ambassador Kim expressed his thanks for this.

Ambassador Kim then explained the situation of Kosygin’s visit to [North] Korea. The delegation led by Kosygin stayed in [North] Korea for two whole days. The Soviet side did not previously propose the visit. It was only when they reached Hanoi that they asked if we agreed for them to visit [North] Korea. We agreed. During the two days in [North] Korea, [we held] two discussions. The joint statement reflects the basic contents of the discussions. We used the [visit] of the Soviet comrades to Korea as an opportunity to clarify several issues, mainly the following:

(1) Does the Soviet Union want to resist imperialism? Imperialism is entering a stage in which it will begin to realize its plans. In South Vietnam, the Congo, Cuba, Korea, and West Germany, imperialism is beginning to realize its own plans. It is a time of responsibility and difficulty. The position of the Soviet Union is of great significance. [The Soviets] should resist and struggle against imperialism;

(2) The issue of supporting national liberation movements: [the Soviets] should support national liberation movements [as] they are an important aspect of the current main struggle and, therefore, of great significance. Supporting national liberation movements is the obligation of all communists;

(3) The issue of equality and non-interference between the fraternal parties: among the fraternal parties, there are big parties and small parties, but there are no expert parties and inferior parties. The relationship between big and small parties should be equal. There should be no interference in another party’s affairs. Even on small problems, if, in the future, anyone [treats] our Party as unequal and interferes in [our] internal affairs, our Party will not listen to them or accept them. Our Party is a small one, but it has its own soul. This is our position, now and in the future. We said that, in the international communist movement, [if] some issues do not conform to our Party’s position, we will express our views;

(4) The issue of solidarity in the socialist camp: recently, the differences among parties has, in the face of imperialism, brought harm to all of the parties;

(5) The issue of the Soviet Union’s past opinions against self-reliance and establishing an independent national economy: we expressed our own views about this. In the past, they said that this is engaging in a closed-door policy of economic nationalism;

(6) The situation in Southeast Asia: we said that the situation in Southeast Asia is urgent [and] we should give material and moral support. On this issue, both sides were in agreement.

[We] also spoke about the issue of the Korean revolution. We said that, at present, there are 60,000 U.S. troops in South Korea and 700,000 [troops] with modern equipment in the [South Korean] puppet army. Under these circumstances, it is not possible to have the same type of revolution that is going on right now in southern Vietnam in Korea. The conditions are not yet ripe. As a result, under the present circumstances, [we] must save [our] strength. When the conditions are ripe, [we] can realize a revolution similar to Russia’s October Revolution. We believe that this is possible. The urgent issue at present is a U.S. military withdrawal from South Korea. We are carrying out a struggle around this issue. Exposing and smashing the Japanese-South Korean Treaty to the Korean people is also of practical significance. In general, these are the issues which we discussed and they are reflected in the joint statement. Additionally, [we] also discussed the 1 March Conference. Comrade Kosygin explained his position. He said that convening the 1 March Conference is a difficult and complex matter and they are not prepared to attach the [amount] of significance to this meeting as in the past. He also said that this meeting is no longer called a drafting committee and that no file will be passed at the meeting. Only at a roundtable behind the assembly will they discuss convening a meeting of the 81 fraternal parties. We clarified our position on this issue. We said that you made this meeting more difficult and complicated. Since you want to postpone the start of this meeting, it would be best to delay it perpetually. Why do you insist on convening the meeting on 1 March? No matter the name, location, or time of the meeting, no matter what parties attend, this conference is splittist. As a result, the Korean Workers’ Party has already stated in a letter to the Central Committee of the CPSU that it will not attend this meeting. Kosygin said that he understood and requested that if the Korean Workers’ Party is not going to attend the conference for these reasons, then he hoped [we] would not attack this conference in the future. In addition to this issue, if there is no written joint statement, then there will still be the Stalin issue. We said why do you always slander Stalin, who is dead, and even treat his body brutally. We said that Comrade Stalin worked for thirty years, do you want this to become naught, to turn into a piece of white paper? Kosygin said the actions in the past were wrong and, going forward, they will no longer attack Stalin. In general, during the two days of meetings, my Party’s position was to force the Soviet Union to resist imperialism and support national liberation movements. For this purpose, we drafted a strong joint statement, while the Soviet Union also prepared their own draft. [We put] the two drafts on the table, and they were very different. We did not accept the Soviet draft and insisted that our draft be the basis [for the joint statement]. We said that since you also are against imperialism and support national liberation movements, then you should act. In the end, some words were changed [but] basically our draft was passed. In this way, the joint statement was published to the world. Now actions will verify this statement. If in the future the Soviet Union is not firmly against imperialist and supports national liberation movement, we will have words with the Soviet Union. We will show them the joint statement.

Ambassador Kim then introduced the domestic situation in [North] Korea, stating that this year [they] will make every effort to overcome the Five Peaks, i.e., resolving agricultural issues and increasing production of coal, electricity, fertilizer, and steel. [He] summed up the recent situation, the implementation of the Resolutions of the Tenth Plenary Session of the 4th [Korean] Workers’ Party Congress at all Party organization levels, and the discovery of some mistakes. [These] mainly were a slackening in Party member ideology which resulted in some departments not completing production plans. The Party and government have recently promoted activity and Party organizations at all levels have found great potential. The achievements this year are expected to be very great.

Ambassador Pan said that the Soviet Union has agreed to oppose imperialism and support national liberation movements because of the urging of the Korean comrades. As Comrade Ambassador has said, in the future, we will have to watch their actual actions.

Ambassador Kim said he that agrees and revealed that he had visited the Vietnamese Ambassador during the morning. The conversation concluded. Ambassador Kim treated Ambassador Pan to a banquet.