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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 28, 1969

REPORT, EMBASSY OF HUNGARY IN NORTH KOREA TO THE HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY

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    A report on the North Korean leaders' statements on South Korean partisan struggles, especially that of Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Jae-bong. Kim addresses the need not to identify the incidents in South Korea with those in South Vietnam.The report emphasizes that such statements are becoming more objective.
    "Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry," January 28, 1969, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MOL, XIX-J-1-j Korea, 1969, 60. doboz, 001360/1969. Translated by Balázs Szalontai. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116681
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    We have observed that the statements the Korean leaders make about the South Korean resistance movement are becoming more and more objective. For one thing, this more objective tone was already well perceptible in the official speech Comrade Kim Il Sung made in September 1968. […] Most recently, on January 8th Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Jae-bong [Kim Jae Bong] made the following remarkable statements about the subject in the presence of Czechoslovak Charge d’Affaires J. Horzenevsky:

    a) The Korean Workers’ Party opposes any attempt, either domestic or external, that would try to identify the South Korean situation with the South Vietnamese one. Although there is a puppet regime both here and there, the Americans are present both here and there, and partisan struggles are waged both here and there, differences are substantial in each respect. In South Korea the puppet regime is, for the time being, stronger. At the moment the role of the Americans, and particularly the nature of their activity, is different in South Korea, nor can one identify the extent and organization of the South Korean partisan struggle with that of South Vietnam.

    b) The conditions of the partisan struggle, and of the struggle of the patriotic forces in general, are also different in South Korea and South Vietnam. In South Korea, there are no jungles, and conditions are unfavorable for hiding. In addition, there is no revolutionary situation in South Korea for the time being, it is just in the process of ripening. For the time being, there is no political and military organization comparable to the NLF. Hence the peculiar fighting tactic of the South Korean patriots and partisans: it is, above all, political education work, agitation among the simplest toilers, workers, and peasants, particularly in the countryside. For the time being, [this activity] is not pursued in the big cities. On the other hand, armed struggle is being continued in several places, in small groups, with the aim of disrupting the so-called quiet of the puppet regime and the American occupiers, of encouraging the well-intentioned, patriotic elements, and of intensifying preparations for their organization.

    […]

    D. Jarck, the second-ranking official of the GDR embassy, informed me that Foreign Minister Pak Seong-cheol [Pak Song Chol] had made a similar statement in the presence of GDR Ambassador G. Henke, likewise early in January. […]

    It is very likely that at the KWP CC plenum held in November 1968, the experiences resulting from the activation of the South Korean partisan struggles in the fall of 1968 were set down in accordance with the aforesaid [statements], and that the subsequent, hitherto known personal changes ([the appointment of] new Ministers of Defense, Public Security and Fishing) may be connected with this issue as well.

                                                          István Kádas

                                                          (ambassador)