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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 18, 1968

NOTE ON A CONVERSATION WITH THE DIRECTOR OF THE 1ST DEPARTMENT OF THE FOREIGN MINISTRY OF THE DPRK, COMRADE RI IN-GYU, ON 15 JUNE 1968, FROM 4:00 P.M. TO 5:30 P.M.

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    Ri In-gyu criticizes United States policy towards the two Koreas and the actions of the U.S. government in Asia.
    "Note on a Conversation with the Director of the 1st Department of the Foreign Ministry of the DPRK, Comrade Ri In-gyu, on 15 June 1968, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.," June 18, 1968, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MfAA, C 1091/70. Translated for NKIDP by Karen Riechert. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116730
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Embassy of the GDR in the DPRK, Pyongyang

18 June 1968

Note on a Conversation with the Director of the 1st Department of the Foreign Ministry of the DPRK, Comrade Ri In-gyu [Ri In Gyu], on 15 June 1968, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Comrade Ri In-gyu had invited to this conversation.

(Information to Berlin by FS on 17 June 1968)

He handed over a detailed information [informational report] on the “Month of Joint Actions for the Expulsion of the American Occupants from South Korea, 25 June to 25 July 1968.”

This month has to be realized in an atmosphere of readiness to fight in order to achieve a new huge upswing of the socialist revolution and socialist construction and in an atmosphere of fighting for the reunification of the country.

The situation after “Pueblo” is such that an outbreak of war is possible at any time. The month is of great importance for fighting for the expulsion of the occupiers and the reunification of the homeland.

The U.S. imperialists are the enemies of the entire Korean people, with whom one cannot live under one sky. This was the same a century ago. Then they prepared a long-term plan for the attack of 18 years ago, together with15 allies and the South Korean clique. We faced more than two million men and huge amounts of material. Under the leadership of Kim Il Sung and with unprecedented heroic deeds the enemy was defeated.

U.S. imperialism did not learn from that and now tries to provoke another war. The armistice was already permanently broken in the past. It was broken more than 55,000 times by February 1968. Modern weapons were shipped to South Korea and the Park Chung Hee clique and the American imperialists together placed it to a wartime footing. The Johnson visit to South Korea in October 1967 was of particular importance. In order to avoid defeat in Vietnam, U.S.A. imperialism wants to unleash a new war in Asia. There are permanent provocations along the demarcation line. Between October 1966 and January 1968 more than 145,000 shots were fired on us. This is 1.7 times as much as in the 13 years following the armistice. Pueblo was part of the methodical preparation for war. Large amounts of weapons were shipped to South Korea and the personnel was increased; more than 200 aircrafts from Okinawa, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, and the 3rd strategic U.S. fleet. During the three months after Pueblo, our area was fired upon more than 380 times and with more than 288,000 shots. Dozens of times armed soldiers, among them groups of more than 100 soldiers, invaded our territory. In the past there had been only invasions by individual soldiers. More than 180 times the enemy’s navy was employed against us in the East and the West Sea. During the three months of 1968, the number of provocations in the air was 330 times as large as during the first three months of 1967.

The South Korean clique negotiates permanently about military support, sends out special envoys, the meeting in Honolulu took place and the South Korean “defense minister” visited the USA. The South Korean clique wants to speed up the timing of a new war. The USA seeks to organize support through its allies and the UN.

Supportive facts:

  1. The USA wants to request that soldiers be sent to South Korea in the UN Security Council;
  2. The joint political manifest of the 16 countries of 27 July 1953 is supposed to go into effect immediately in the case of another war.
  3. Measures of “mutual defense” of South Korea and the USA should go into effect immediately.
  4. There should be an increased participation of those countries in the war in Vietnam.
  5. The military and non-military support by the ASPAC [Asian and Pacific Council] countries is organized.

This means that the aggressive forces should be united, the war plans are ready and are supposed to be accelerated.

The USA wants to shift the blame for the escalation to the DPRK, but they will make nobody afraid. The people stand like one line behind the party and Kim Il Sung. The fighting spirit of the anti-Japanese partisans and the experiences during the struggle against the USA are alive.

The DPRK has a stable socialist basis and a strong defense. She enjoys strong support by the fraternal socialist countries and the revolutionary countries of the world.

The struggle of the South Korean people against the Park Chung Hee clique increases everyday. Where there is suppression, there is also resistance.

The extensive armed action of the South Korean people in Seoul and the Pueblo [incident] encourages them to fight. The South Korean press is under strong censorship, therefore we do not know everything about the resistance struggle.

Between 21 and 30 of January, however, more than 187 armed persons were in action at 66 locations, more than 33 fights took place and over 100 enemies (Americans, Park Chung Hee officers and policemen) were eliminated and four military trains destroyed. The fights took place up to a distance of 500 meters from the president’s palace.

There was a hand grenade fight in the telegraph office in Seoul just before the first of May. On 9 May 600 telephone lines were destroyed in Wonju.

Weapons are being captured frequently and South Korean soldiers leave their units with their arms.

The South Korean people display increasing trust in Kim Il Sung. 94 fights took place between January and March 1968; this amounts to 1.8 times as many as in the previous year. There are strikes, demonstrations, sit-ins, increased fights by peasants, railway men, and long-shore men, mine workers get actively involved in fights. Members of the intelligentsia fight against national discrimination.

The USA and the Park Chung Hee clique distance themselves daily more and more from the people. Reunification comes closer every day. The USA is more and more isolated everywhere in the world.

The DPRK will fight against U.S. imperialism in close alliance with the revolutionary people of the world. U.S.A. imperialism can be beaten. The victory of the revolution in Cuba and the heroic struggle of the Vietnamese people inflicted irreparable damage on U.S. imperialism. If U.S. imperialism is fought everywhere, we will finally eliminate it. It is not invincible. During the “month of action” more strikes will be mounted and the revolutionary people of the world have to be called to arms.

The following steps are planned:

On 24 June: A mass meeting and mass demonstration will be held in Pyongyang. Afterwards demonstrations all over the country. A joint declaration of the social organizations will be published. A memorandum by the government against the USA provocations will be published.

On 27. June, the 15th anniversary of the victory over U.S. imperialism, mass events will take place. “Many state and party officials from all over the world used to send letters of congratulation to Kim Il Sung on this day. We expect the number of these letters will increase even more on the occasion of the 15th anniversary.”

[…]

Signed:

Henke (Ambassador)

Copies:

1x Central Committee, International Relations

2x Foreign Ministry – Far East

1x Embassy – Comrade Jarck

1x Embassy – Department of protocol

1x Embassy – Office