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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 23, 1984

INFORMATION ABOUT THE COOPERATION BETWEEN THE KGB OF THE USSR AND THE MFS OF THE DPRK

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    A report on assistance from the Soviet Union and East Germany to North Korea's intelligence services.
    "Information about the Cooperation between the KGB of the USSR and the MfS of the DPRK," August 23, 1984, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, BStU, MfS, Abt. X, Nr. 245, p. 412-417. Obtained and translated by Thomas Stock. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208245
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208245

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INFORMATION

About the Cooperation Between the KGB of the USSR and the MfS[1] of the DPRK

Since 1945, the Committee for State Security of the USSR works with the security organs of the DPRK.  The most active phase of cooperation was in the first years following the liberation of Korea until 1958.  During this time, the Soviet Union contributed significantly to the education and development of the Korean security organs and in general to the resolution of tasks for the solidification of the security and defense capabilities of the DPRK.  In the past few years, cooperation was practically halted due to the position of the Koreans.  From 1966 up until now, contacts between the KGB of the USSR and the Ministry for State Security of the DPRK have been maintained via liaison officers in Moscow and Pyongyang.

The Committee for State Security of the USSR aims to conduct cooperation with the security organs of the DPRK in accordance with the principles of mutuality and trust, in order to unite our efforts in the struggle against the enemy and guarantee the security of both countries and the entire socialist community.

The Korean side, however, does not adhere to the principle of mutuality and trust and constantly attempts to attain one-sided advantages from cooperation.

In assessing and deciding on questions of cooperation, the Committee for State Security of the USSR considers the DPRK leadership’s foreign policy course as exhibited in the decisions of the V. (1970) and VI. Party Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea (1980), the active work of the Korean secret services vis-à-vis Soviet agencies and citizens in the DPRK, the limitations imposed on them, and the existence of an agreement about cooperation between the North Korean and Chinese news agencies.

Cooperation between the KGB of the USSR and the MfS of the DPRK currently occurs in the following main areas:

1. Delivery of operational technology and equipment to the Korean side

The Ministry for State Security of the DPRK shows itself particularly interested in the acquisition of the newest special technologies.  During all meetings, at all levels, the Koreans inquire after their delivery.

Until 1973 the Committee for State Security of the USSR delivered several operational-technological instruments and special equipment to the security organs of the DPRK on the basis of a plan.  Among these belong, above all, repair equipment and spare parts for special technology, which were delivered to the DPRK between 1945 and 1958.  The Korean side was also supported in its acquisition of special technology from capitalist markets.

After 1973, only two special news devices—“Almas-M” and specific repair equipment and spare parts to guarantee the normal functioning of the WTsch-government line Moscow-Pyongyang—were delivered to the DPRK.

At present, the USSR’s State Committee for Foreign Economic Relations is reviewing the DPRK MfS’s request for the delivery of operational-technological instruments and special technology for the 1984-1986 period.

The Committee for State Security of the USSR approaches the satisfaction of Korean requests for operational-technological instruments carefully, on the basis of their intended use and our capabilities.  Instruments with which service units of the KGB are currently equipped, those which are being delivered to socialist fraternal states and are developed and produced together with the security organs of the socialist countries, are not presented to the Korean side and are not delivered to them.

2. Information exchange

From 1968 up to the present, in accordance with the Korean side’s request and in conformity with the agreed upon arrangement, the Committee for State Security of the USSR, in the framework of exchange, has handed the DPRK 174 information materials and operational materials about the situation in the USA, Japan, and South Korea, about the activities of the secret services of these countries against the DPRK and USSR, and about international and regional terrorist and extremist organizations.  During the same period, the Korean side sent 109 materials that largely deal with the situation in South Korea.

The present information exchange is insignificant in its scope.  Thus, since July 1983 the MfS of the DPRK received 14 information materials and sent out 5 materials.  The Korean materials rarely go beyond the framework of official notices, which is why they are uninteresting from an intelligence perspective.

The materials that are intended for delivery to the MfS of the DPRK are prepared by the KGB of the USSR in such a way that the nature of the activities of the operational service units is not disclosed to the Koreans.

3. Defense questions

The Korean side announces a special interest in cooperation along the lines of radio-defense.  Until April 1978, periodic workshops were conducted between the radio-defense services of the KGB of the USSR and the MfS of the DPRK.  During the last meeting, which took place in March 1978, the key aspects of cooperation were established.

As agreed, the Committee for State Security of the USSR assists the Pyongyang radio-defense station with tuning into the radio stations of the enemy and advises the MfS of the DPRK in matters of using radio-defense technology and analysis of individual radio messages intercepted by the Koreans.

In coordinating the activity of radio-defense services of the USSR’s KGB and the DPRK’s MfS an encrypted line is used.

In 1983, the Korean side, at their request, was informed about the radio direction finder “Sesna” with display device “Pelikan,” about the radio receiver “Katran,” the detector “Buk,” and the encryption equipment “Alatau” as well as the equipment “Kanal-R” and “ASS-1.”  At present, the USSR’s State Committee for Foreign Economic Relations is reviewing the Koreans’ request for the delivery of this special technology for use in the MfS of the DPRK.

The Committee for State Security of the USSR assists the work of the security departments that were formed for the Korean logging organizations in the territory of the USSR, especially with regard to the protection of Korean citizens who are deployed for logging.  The service units of the KGB conduct manhunts of DPRK citizens who fled the logging organizations, arrest them, and hand them over to the Korean side.  The same applies to border violators who are Korean citizens.

The KGB of the USSR also assists the security organs of the DPRK in guaranteeing the security of leading DPRK representatives on their travels to the Soviet Union or to third countries via the USSR.  Such an assistance was granted, among other things, during the recent USSR-visit of the Korean party and state delegation under the leadership of Kim Il Sung.

At the request of the MfS of the DPRK, assistance was granted along the lines of external defense in the protection of the DPRK delegations to the VIII. World Cup 1966 and the Asia Games 1982.

4. Education of cadres

The Committee for State Security of the USSR has helped the Korean security organs with the education of cadres.  From 1966 to 1967, 34 employees from service units of DPRK security organs received an education in criminalistics, radio technology and operational technology, radio intelligence and wiretapping at the educational facilities of the KGB.

In the 1968-1983 period, the Korean side did not turn to us for the education of cadres.

Since June 1983, the MfS of the DPRK again tenaciously requests for the education of Korean officer-students at educational facilities of the USSR’s KGB.  The Korean side would like to annually send up to 50 officer-students for a five-year education as well as special training courses of the KGB that have a short training time.

It was explained to the MfS of the DPRK that considering the capacity of our educational facilities over the next years we won’t be able to accept Korean officer-students for a five-year education.  We can review the matter of educating Koreans in short training courses in the second half of 1985, once the work schedule of the KGB’s educational facilities for the new five-year period has been worked out.  This can only deal with the question of educating a small number of Koreans along the lines of defense activity.

The Deputy Minister for State Security of the DPRK, Kim Yen Rön [sic], who was in Moscow in June 1983, proposed to make an agreement between the KGB of the USSR and the MfS of the DPRK in order to unite our efforts in the struggle against American imperialism and its Japanese and South Korean auxiliaries.

On the basis of the contract of friendship, cooperation, and mutual support between the USSR and DPRK from 1961 and the need to put the cooperation between the KGB of the USSR and the MfS of the DPRK on a legal foundation, as well as for a more effective utilization of the Korean security organs’ capabilities in favor of our interests, the leadership of the Committee for State Security of the USSR has acceded to the Korean proposal.

Together with the Ministry of State Security of the DPRK a draft of an agreement about cooperation between the KGB of the USSR and the MfS of the DPRK was worked out.  Its signing is scheduled for September of this year in Pyongyang, where a delegation of the Committee for State Security of the USSR is expected to go.

[1] Ministry for State Security