MINUTES OF THE MEETING BETWEEN KIM IL SUNG, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE KOREAN WORKERS PARTY, AND COMRADE GüNTER SCHABOWSKI IN PYONGYANG ON 10 MAY 1988
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get citationKim Il Sung apologizes for the North Korean trade shortfall and informed Schabowski of major flooding in 1986 and 1987. There was also talk of the approaching 13th World Games of Youth and Students."Minutes of the Meeting between Kim Il Sung, Secretary General of the Korean Workers Party, and Comrade Günter Schabowski in Pyongyang on 10 May 1988 ," May 10, 1988, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, SAPMO-BA, DY 30, 2205. Translated by Grace Leonard. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121671
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Of the meeting between Kim Il Sung, Secretary General of the Korean Workers Party, and Comrade Günter Schabowski in Pyongyang on 10 May 1988
At the beginning of the meeting Kim Il Sung asked specifically after Erich Honecker's health. He expressed his thanks for the Secretary General's regards as conveyed by Günter Schabowski and asked that his own warm regards be conveyed to his best friend and brother. He emphasized his deep friendship with Erich Honecker by saying that each of them was occupying a socialist outpost, one in the west, the other in the east. He said he still remembered the tremendous reception he experienced from the people of Berlin when he visited the GDR in 1984. The population thereby demonstrated its solid unity with the Party and also the force that grows out of the friendship of our two nations.
Comrade Kim Il Sung again gave his thanks for Erich Honecker's invitation for a delegation from the DPRK to attend the International Meeting for Nuclear Free Zones from 20 June to 22 June 1988 in Berlin. He characterized this initiative of Erich Honecker's as very important and said that the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers Party had decided to send a delegation that would be led by a member of the Politburo and the Secretary of the Central Committee.
Kim Il Sung stressed how completely the foreign policies of the GDR and the DPRK were in agreement and emphasized that our parties also had the same views on objectives for building socialism.
There can be no other objectives if one truly wants to blaze the trail of socialism.
He said he follows Erich Honecker's speeches with great interest, and that these speeches coincide completely with his views.
Comrade Kim Il Sung stated that he is very satisfied with the cooperation between the GDR and the DPRK. The GDR actively supports the Korean people's struggle in all areas. Indirectly referencing the information Günter Schabowski asked for at an earlier meeting with Kang Hui-won, candidate for the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers Party, about the prospects for contractual delivery of certain raw materials from the DPRK, Comrade Kim Il Sung said that he knew that the DPRK is not currently fulfilling its trade obligations as set forth in the agreements. He made assurances that this will be made up and everything will proceed normally in the second half of 1988. Addressing the reasons for the backlogs – and according to him this was the first time he had discussed this with a foreign delegation—Kim Il Sung talked about major floods in 1986 and 1987, which the Koreans had not made publicly known internationally. All of the production facilities, railroad tracks, and roads were flooded in the valley where the sintered magnesite is found, production came to a standstill, and there was a great deal of destruction. A member of the Politburo and the Secretary of the Central Committee was dispatched to lead efforts on-site to repair the damage. A Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers has been working as the District Party Secretary for this period. The production workshops will begin full operations during the course of the first half of 1988 so that everything will be delivered that the DPRK has pledged to deliver.
The Party and the entire country is currently focusing great efforts on the construction plans for the 13th World Games of Youth and Students in Pyongyang in 1989. These are very difficult and also expensive preparations, because at the same time capital investments in operations must also continue. The build-up work in small cities has been suspended for the time being. It is primarily the army that is working at the construction sites in Pyongyang; it will accomplish much in the “200-day battle.” Everything is being done to prepare well for the 13th world games and to make them a success.
Work is proceeding with the same initiative with which the service members of the army constructed the West Sea barrage. Now that the barrage has been operating for two years, the substantial efforts and costs invested have already been recouped.
Günter Schabowski thanked Kim Il Sung for the meeting, for the detailed description of the Korean Workers Party's current struggle to bring about the resolutions of the VI Party Congress, and the confident assurances that all of the obligations to the GDR with regard to deliveries would be fulfilled. He emphatically stressed that Comrade Erich Honecker had authorized him to provide assurances again that the GDR will observe all agreements that were made between him and Comrade Kim Il Sung. In this context, he described the resolution of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party to send a delegation of representatives of the GDR, to be led by Willi Stoph, to the 40th anniversary of the founding of the DPRK.
He said that the youth in the GDR are preparing for the 13th World Games in Pyongyang with the intent, alongside the side of the Korean youth, to make this occasion a great event for the youth of the world, a convincing demonstration of the strength of our socialist nations, and an active contribution to maintaining world peace. This was also reflected in the May demonstration by over 750,000 residents of Berlin, which was a powerful manifestation of the unity of Party and people.
Comrade Kim Il Sung again asked that his fraternal greetings be conveyed to Erich Honecker, and stressed that the successes of the GDR, under the leadership of the Socialist Unity Party, are also always considered as mutual successes and our Parties and our peoples will conduct increasingly close cooperation.