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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 13, 1973

NOTE ON A MEETING IN THE EMBASSY OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA ON 5 SEPTEMBER 1973

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    This document covers the issue of North Korea's policy of balancing between China and Soviet Union.
    "Note On a Meeting in the Embassy of Czechoslovakia on 5 September 1973 ," September 13, 1973, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PolA AA, MfAA, C 295/78. Obtained and translated for NKIDP by Bernd Schaefer. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116674
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116674

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GDR Embassy to DPRK

- Political Department -

Pyongyang, 13 September 1973

N o t e

On a Meeting in the Embassy of Czechoslovakia on 5 September 1973

Participants:

Comrade Putivets, Counselor in Soviet Embassy

Comrade Suchy, Acting Ambassador in Czechoslovak Embassy, 1st Secretary

Comrade Dr. Taraba, Acting Ambassador in Hungarian Embassy, Counselor

Comrade Senemeder, Acting Ambassador in Mongolian Embassy, 2nd Secretary

Comrade Jewduszuk, 1st Secretary of Polish Embassy

Comrade Janakiyev, 2nd Secretary of Bulgarian Embassy

Comrade Merten, Counselor in GDR Embassy

Comrade Hoffer, Counselor in GDR Embassy

During this meeting there was an exchange of opinions held on DPRK positions concerning the 10th CCP Party Congress.

Comrade Jewduszuk stated that the KWP appraised the Chinese Party Congress in a cordial manner. Recent events in DPRK-PRC relations demonstrate how both sides pay close attention to the development of relations. Ambassador Comrade Bialkowski, who returned from vacation on 4 September, reported that the praise of the CCP Party Congress by the KWP has raised certain concerns in Warsaw. He thinks the process in DPRK-PRC relations must be closely observed, in particular the practical steps in those relations. In his opinion, a comparison [of the CCP Party Congress] to the [Korean] appraisal of the 24th CPSU Party Congress is telling. As far as he is aware, there were only very few publications concerning the 24th CPSU Party Congress, and its political importance was not recognized by the Koreans.

Comrade Dr. Taraba said the cordial KWP reaction to the 10th Congress demonstrates how the DPRK pays major attention to its relations with the PRC, in particular to party relations. It is an indication that the DPRK press published a lot of pieces about China. He voiced the opinion that the KWP Central Committee was informed about the upcoming CCP Congress by the Chinese in advance. Also he thought the DPRK will continue its policy of balancing, as the DPRK needs both the political and economic assistance of our countries.

On 3 September [Dr. Taraba] had asked the head of the First Department in the DPRK Foreign Ministry, Comrade Kim Jae-suk [Kim Jae Suk], during a dinner at the [Hungarian] embassy about his opinion of the 10th CCP Party Congress. Kim Jae-suk was very reserved and just mentioned that this Party Congress was an important event and the CCP Central Committee consisted mainly of Zhou Enlai’s people.

Comrade Dr. Taraba continued that the Albanian Acting Ambassador had told him about the CCP Congress that there are constant internal battles in China and different groups are working against each other. Albania would very much regret that. Comrade Taraba also mentioned information he received about party meetings to be held in the DPRK to interpret the material published in the context of the 10th CCP Party Congress.

As far as the published speech by Zhou Enlai in “Rodong Sinmun” is concerned, it is noteworthy how all the open attacks against the Soviet Union were omitted. Though this does not apply to all terms, like those referring to the “superpowers” or “modern revisionism.” It also not clear to [Dr. Taraba] what is meant by the phrase “struggle for gaining the territorial integrity” in the KWP Central Committee’s congratulatory address.

Finally Comrade Dr. Taraba thought it cannot be excluded that Foreign Minister Heo Dam [Ho Tam] will travel to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Comrade Janakiyev asserted the KWP has adopted the political line and assessment of the Chinese leadership (Cultural Revolution, 9th Party Congress) in its publications on the 10th Party Congress. He assumed this line to be continued by the KWP. It is interesting to note how previous material about China was published in “Rodong Sinmun” on pages 3 and 4. Today those materials appear on pages 1 and 2. He thinks that the DPRK is not going to abandon its policy of balance since there are also contradictions between DPRK and PRC, like the one concerning the ideology of Juche. Kim Il Sung himself wanted to be recognized as the leader of world revolution. Maybe Kim Il Sung intends by that to secure its position [in Korea]. At the beginnings of the 1960s, Kim Il Sung was also eager to stabilize his position when the differences between our countries and China became critical.

Comrade Putivets noted how the praise for the 10th CCP Party Congress is a worrisome phenomenon. This is not in particular a new development. However, the previous DPRK line towards the PRC has become expressed in more clear terms.

Though, for instance, the USSR Embassy like the other embassies is very active in the field of foreign propaganda, there are only a few publications about the Soviet Union in the DPRK press. The Koreans give reasons for this like the lack of space, or they make the argument how they are not entitled to provide assessments of other parties. Yet this looks all different with regard to the 10th CCP Party Congress. Certainly one must concede that the Chinese, for instance, publish a lot about the DPRK and react quickly to events there. Frequently the Koreans tell our countries that they must follow reciprocity. Yet it is a fact that in our countries there is more published about the DPRK [than vice versa], and the actual content has to be considered as well.

The foreign policy program of the 24th CPSU Party Congress did not meet with any resonance in the DPRK. In the context of this Congress there was only a wish for success in the implementation of decrees, without mentioning the political content. One can say that the Korean comrades sympathize with the Chinese, yet on certain questions they have also different opinions from them. In order not to move into isolation, the Koreans will be eager to develop relations with our countries. For instance, the Korean comrades are willing to expand party relations with our countries and increase the exchange of delegations in many different areas. This way the Korean comrades want to demonstrate that everything is normal and problem-free in relations with our countries.

The Korean comrades always emphasize the friendship in our relations. For now there is no reason to change the basic line in relations with the DPRK.

Referring to the phrase “struggle for gaining the territorial integrity” in the KWP Central Committee’s greeting address to the 10th CCP Party Congress, Comrade Putivets remarked it can mean “one thing, as well as another one.” So far the Korean comrades had always referred to Taiwan.

In addition, Comrade Putivets informed that recently 21 Korean doctors went to Moscow for two years of special training. Soon there will be 6 more Korean doctors traveling to the Soviet Union for 8 months. It is still unknown when the delegation of the USSR-DRPK Friendship Society will arrive [from Moscow] for the 25th Anniversary of the DPRK. The Korean comrades asked for sending a delegation in any case.

Merten

Embassy Counselor