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Digital Archive International History Declassified

December 20, 1967

A 20 DECEMBER 1967 DVO MEMO ABOUT THE ATTITUDE OF THE KOREAN LEADERSHIP TOWARD THE ISSUES OF DISARMAMENT AND NON-PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS

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    A report on the DPRK's negative attitude towards a relaxation of tensions in the international arena, based on remarks made by Kim Il Sung.
    "A 20 December 1967 DVO Memo about the Attitude of the Korean Leadership toward the Issues of Disarmament and Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons ," December 20, 1967, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVPRF f. 0102, op. 23, p. 112, d. 24, pp. 113-114. Obtained by Sergey Radchenko and translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116718
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[113]

The position of the Korean leadership on issues of disarmament and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons results from their general negative attitude toward the problem of the relaxation of international tensions.

Whereas on a number of other current problems the Korean comrades have retreated from a pro-Chinese policy, their attitude toward a relaxation of tensions has essentially remained unchanged. The Korean leaders oppose a relaxation of tensions and stabilization of the situation in Europe, thinking that the efforts being undertaken in this direction distract the socialist countries from the Vietnam problem and allow the US to concentrate [its] forces on aggression in Asia. "A relaxation of tensions on one front cannot serve to improve the international situation as a whole but, on the contrary, will help the imperialists to increase aggression on another front", Kim Il Sung declared at a KWP conference in October 1966…[113]

According to report of the Soviet Embassy, in a conversation with the Cuban [114] Ambassador in February 1967 Kim Il Sung said that he did not share the desire of the Soviet Union to conclude a treaty with the US about the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, but in view of the fact that the USSR is giving aid to Vietnam the DPRK, in his words, will not openly criticize the Soviet position on this issue [114].

After each experimental nuclear test in China the Korean leadership sent Peking a congratulatory telegram. Only the last explosion (June 1967) was an exception, when the congratulations were sent by the DPRK Academy of Sciences [114].

The negative attitude of the Korean leadership toward the problems of disarmament and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons results from  a policy they adopted back in 1962, the policy of "arming the entire people and turning the entire country into a fortress". The persistence of the international situation is being used by the Korean leadership to justify this policy.

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