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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 04, 1985

INFORMATION FROM BULGARIAN MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, PETER MLADENOV TO THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE BULGARIAN COMMUNIST PARTY

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    Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peter Mladenov reports on North Korean Foreign Minister, Kim Yeong-nam's visit and discussion with Todor Zhivkov, concerning North Korea's "South-South" initiative for economic cooperation between developing countries.
    "Information from Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peter Mladenov to the Central Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party," January 04, 1985, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Central State Archive, Sofia, Fond 1-B, Opis101, A.E. 1204, p. 1-7. Obtained by Jordan Baev and translated by Greta Keremidchieva. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/165347
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Minister of Foreign Affairs

TO

POLITBURO OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE

OF THE BULGARIAN COMMUNIST PARTY

Comrades,

From 11 to 14 December 1984, the member of Politburo of CC [Central Committee] of the Korean Workers’ Party, Deputy Chairman of the Administrative Council, and Foreign Minister of DPRK, Kim Yeong-nam, paid an official visit to our country. The visit was not planned in advance; it was organized ad hoc by a proposal of the Korean side and combined with visits in GDR [German Democratic Republic; East Germany] and SRR [Socialist Republic of Romania].

The Korean Foreign Minister was received by Comrade Todor Zhivkov. He also had a meeting with the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Comrade Grisha Filipov.

X

It is worth noting that the main purpose of the Korean Foreign Minister was to familiarize the governments of the three socialist countries with DPRK initiative to organize in Pyongyang (April – May 1986) a summit on the economic cooperation between developing countries (so-called cooperation “South-South”), and with the proposal PR of Bulgaria, the GDR and SR of Romania to take part in it. This topic was central in Comrade Kim Yeong-nam’s statement before Comrade Todor Zhivkov, as well as during the talks in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Naturally, bilateral relations and some international problems were raised as well.

X

The Korean initiative on the above-mentioned conference is based on:

The Korean side believes that the hopes of developing countries to organize an international conference “South-North” have failed; there are no prospects for it. At the same time, the complex political situation in the world and international economic relations (mainly between capitalist and developing countries) have serious consequences for the “third world” countries. Therefore, they believe it is necessary to convene a conference on cooperation (“South-South”). Regardless of the decisions of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries to study the possibilities for such a conference, practical steps for its organization have not been taken yet.

Taking into consideration the current environment and the need for such a forum, DPRK started preparatory work. Talks were held with 50 countries (to name a few, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Angola, Madagascar, Congo, Uganda, Zambia, PDR Yemen, Nicaragua, Malta, India, Cuba). Consultations will proceed.

Here is the big picture according to Korean comrades:

- Developing countries do not support this conference in the framework of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries. It shall be convened by initiative of individual countries and be called “Conference of heads of states interested in economic cooperation “South-South.”

- So far, 30 countries have agreed to participate at “head of state” level, the rest – at “foreign minister” level.

- The agenda is to include topics on industry, agriculture, trade, health, etc.; the conference is to have business character and make specific decisions on signing conventions, long-term agreements and deals; forms of cooperation shall be in line with participants’ capabilities: joint production, scientific and technical cooperation, exchange of experience, specialists and goods, payment with raw materials, other materials, goods, etc.

- An organizing committee is to be set up with the participation of countries with progressive orientation (although officially it will be open for all potential conference participants), and working groups to develop proposals which after approval at foreign ministerial level will be approved at the summit.

- Many developing countries (among which Ethiopia, Angola, Mozambique, Tanzania, Madagascar, Congo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, PDR Yemen, Nigeria, Malta, India, Bangladesh, Cuba) suggest that socialist countries also take part in the conference.

DPRK deems as necessary that PR of Bulgaria, GDR and SR of Romania take part in the organizing committee; for tactical reasons the number of socialist countries shall not grow. The involvement of DPRK, PRB, GDR and SRR can help to reduce the influence of the West in Africa and other regions, to oppose the machinations of imperialism and the South Korean regime, and to combine socialist countries export opportunities with the market in developing countries. Eventual Bulgarian participation in the conference and in the organizing committee was linked with the agreements between comrades Todor Zhivkov and Kim Il Sung for joint move to third countries.

Kim Yeong-nam’s statement before Comrade Todor Zhivkov and the talks in the Foreign Ministry prove that:

- DPRK is making efforts to stay active in the international arena; taking advantage of the interest of many developing countries to this conference and the slow ineffective mechanism of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries and the Group of the 77th, taking into account its own long-term economic and ideological interests in “the third world,” specifically in Africa, DPRK is actively working to implement this initiative.

- Obviously, they have received significant support from a number of developing countries to organize this conference.

- At the same time, however, Cuba and India have not agreed yet (Comrade Kim skipped that information on purpose). Our comrades from the GDR were reserved without rejecting the proposal for the time being. Comrade Kim has informed Soviet comrades about the Korean initiative.

- Obviously, DPRK needs the support of socialist countries and particularly PR Bulgaria and GDR, since SR Romania is quite discredited in the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries due to its insistence to be involved in its mechanism, without being able to render effective support. At the same time, the Bulgarian success and experience in agriculture and the German progress in machine building are guarantee for achieving pragmatic results and combining Bulgarian and Korean export opportunities with the demands of developing countries markets. To facilitate our participation, DPRK has removed formal obstacles and organizes this forum outside the Movement – by initiative and with the involvement of interested countries.

Comrade Todor Zhivkov thanked for the detailed information and for the fact that DPRK is addressing Bulgaria on this issue. He told the Korean foreign minister that the idea to conduct a conference on economic cooperation “South-South” is interesting and deserves attention. Comrade Todor Zhivkov pointed out the need to prevent the split in the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, more countries to support the idea – not only progressive countries, but also countries with right orientation, in order not to allow an alternative conference, organized by US protégés and other imperialist countries. Comrade Todor Zhivkov stated that this is a new issue and its importance requires the party and state leaderships to be informed and make a decision after considering the problem.

The Korean Foreign Minister was committed to send information on the further development. He said that on his way to Pyongyang he would have talks with the Soviet comrades.

The Foreign Ministry will study in detail all aspects of the Korean proposal, will have consultations with the Soviet and German comrades, and will inform Politburo about the conclusions made in order to take a decision.

X

Relatively little attention was paid to bilateral relations. The Korean foreign minister informed Comrade Todor Zhivkov about Kim Il Sung’s satisfaction with his official friendly visit in June this year and the significance of Comrade Todor Zhivkov’s forthcoming visit in DPRK. Bilateral relations in all areas were highly assessed during the talks with the Secretary General of CC of BCP and Chairman of the State Council, at the meeting with Comrade Grisha Filipov, and in the Foreign Ministry. Discussions were held on their enhancement, like ministerial exchange of visits, visits of political and public figures, direct contacts between municipalities and towns, factories and working teams in both countries.

A decision was made to draft and sign the following year a two-year plan for cooperation between the foreign ministries.

X

It is worth noting that during the discussions on the international situation, the Korean side expressed their full support to the communiqué from the last meeting of Warsaw Pact Committee of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

01-05-1/4 January 1985

Minister of Foreign Affairs

[signature]

Petar Mladenov

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