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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 07, 1984

INFORMATION ABOUT THE STATE VISIT OF THE GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE WPK CC AND PRESIDENT OF THE DPRK, KIM IL SUNG, TO THE GDR

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    A comprehensive overview of North Korean-East German ties as well as North Korea's overall foreign relations in light of a visit to the GDR made by Kim Il Sung.
    "Information About the State Visit of the General Secretary of the WPK CC and President of the DPRK, Kim Il Sung, to the GDR," June 07, 1984, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, BStU, MfS, HA II/10, Nr. 748, p. 55-62. Obtained and translated by Thomas Stock. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208247
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Department XX/3 Berlin, 6/7/1984

Information

About the State Visit of the General Secretary of the WPK CC[1] and President of the DPRK, Kim Il Sung, to the GDR

The state visit of the General Secretary of the WPK CC and President of the DPRK, Kim Il Sung, was carried out according to plan from 5/29 to 6/4 in the GDR.

Prior to this, Kim Il Sung was in the USSR and in the People’s Republic of Poland.  Kim Il Sung provided no concrete details about the results of these sojourns, although unofficially it is being estimated that the Koreans perhaps did not meet their goals in all questions, particularly while in the USSR.  This is especially evidenced by the problems in the development of relations between the USSR and China and, related to this, the currently differing positions regarding approach (see special section of this information material).  We are aware of no comments about the results of the sojourn in the People’s Republic of Poland.

In this connection, it is unofficially estimated that his dinner in Dresden with 15 people from his immediate entourage is evidence for Kim Il Sung’s satisfaction with his stay in the GDR.  Such an additional agenda item was neither realized in the USSR nor the People’s Republic of Poland.

The essential components of the planned agenda for his stay in the GDR were carried out.

A planned visit with the Lord Mayor of Berlin did not take place, although this primarily occurred because Kim Il Sung was reportedly too strained for time and energy and was eager to realize the tour of the urban district Marzahn as well as the visit of a Marzahn family.

Overall, it is estimated that Kim Il Sung, both officially and unofficially, seemed impressed by his sojourn in the GDR and that he made no kind of critical remarks.

In relation to the declared invitation to Comrade Honecker to visit the DPRK, he expressed that this visit should be realized soon, then the sooner he would be able to again make a return-visit to the GDR.

Kim Il Sung seemed particularly impressed by the wide participation of the general public, which he evaluated as unity between party and people.

Unofficially we continue to estimate that the present visit of Kim Il Sung in the GDR is the beginning of a new stage in the bilateral relations between the DPRK and the GDR, relations which contain concrete as well as political and economic goals.  This also became apparent in the negotiations for the agreement about economic cooperation until 1990, during which the Korean delegation presented a draft that could be negotiated without significant problems.  

In relation to this, Kim Il Sung expressed that up until now he was not sufficiently informed about the prospects for economic cooperation with the GDR and therefore demanded that the agreement has to be drafted in such a fashion that it could be amended at any time.

Kim Il Sung commented that he has criticized the personnel of the Korean embassy because they did not comprehensively inform him about the economic capabilities of the GDR.

He mentioned as an example that the DPRK purchased a foundry from Japan and brings in synthetic rubber and herbicides from capitalist countries.  It is wrong, he said, that the DPRK does not procure those and other things from the GDR.  Kim Il Sung consequently requested the delivery of a foundry to the DPRK and to educate the necessary skilled workers in the GDR.

In connection with his criticism of the information-gathering activity of the Korean embassy, Kim Il Sung qualified that in the past the leadership of the DPRK, too, did not sufficiently orient itself toward trade with the socialist countries.

In terms of focus, the DPRK is presently expanding its nonferrous metallurgy.  Kim Il Sung mentioned that the DPRK has vast deposits and that the GDR can rely on long-term deliveries of sintered magnesite from the DPRK.

Reportedly, the conversations made apparent the DPRK’s interest in the GDR as a country with influence in the socialist community of states and especially on the USSR, which is said to have been evinced during Kim Il Sung’s honest expression of opinion vis-à-vis Comrade Honecker.

It can be evaluated positively that the DPRK is apparently ready, at present, to apply all methods in the antiimperialist struggle and endorse the cooperation with various forces inside the imperialist states, a line which did not yet become apparent in this manner during Comrade Honecker’s state visit to the DPRK in 1977.

Whereas in 1977 the problem of Korean unification was still pushed into the foreground, now one could notice the tendency that although the goal of an antiimperialist unification of Korea is still being upheld, the most important element is the removal of American troops from East Asia.

During Comrade Honecker’s visit to the DPRK in 1977, for all intents and purposes, the Korean side demanded the promise that no relations be established with South Korea.  During the present visit, this question played no role.  Unofficially it is estimated that this represents the Korean leadership’s adjustment to the political realities.

The conversations further illustrated that in recent years the DPRK has developed into a reliable ally in the international class struggle, despite the continued existence of possible differing positions in tactical questions.

At the same time, it became apparent and was illustrated by the composition of the delegation that the DPRK, against the background of realizing their national economic plan, especially considers economic cooperation with the socialist countries as a necessary precondition.

An important request by Kim Il Sung was to, first and foremost, hold confidential conversations with Comrade Honecker.  The main foci were especially the problems concerning the development of relations between the socialist countries and China and the Non-Aligned Movement.

On the analysis of the plan vis-à-vis China

Kim Il Sung reportedly estimated that the socialist countries must do everything to support the construction of socialism in China.  He stressed that while there existed anti-Soviet campaigns in the past, they now have ceased.

The development of China’s relations with the USA and Japan is not aimed against third states, including the USSR.  Kim Il Sung is reportedly convinced that China will never join the side of the USA against the USSR.

Considering the complicated situation in the world, Kim Il Sung is said to hope that the bilateral relations between the USSR and China develop more strongly.

In the past, the Chinese leadership reportedly informed Kim Il Sung about every step in the establishment of relations with Japan.

Kim Il Sung repeatedly emphasized that the relationship with the USA and Japan are important to China in order to receive modern technology and credits.

In this connection, Kim Il Sung expressed that there supposedly exist reports according to which Deng Xiaoping, in the USA, stated that the American arms build-up serves peace.  Kim Il Sung disputes [the occurrence of] this statement.  The Chinese leadership does not want to engage in activities against the USSR, but develop relations of peaceful coexistence with the USA, Japan, India, and the USSR.  Based on the fact that there presently do not exist party relations between the USSR and China, Kim Il Sung reputedly called on the socialist states to constantly expand relations with China, which Kim Il Sung considers as the best contribution to the restoration of party relations.

In the May 1984 conversations between Kim Il Sung and Hu Yaobang it reportedly became clear that the Chinese leadership really wants to improve state relations with the USSR.  Hu Yaobang is said to have confirmed that China’s top leadership holds a unified opinion on this matter.

In relation to this, Hu Yaobang supposedly expressed his regrets to Kim Il Sung concerning the postponement of the visit of the First Deputy Premier of the USSR, Comrade Arkhipov, to China.

The Chinese leadership allegedly has a high opinion of Comrade Arkhipov, who was active as an economic adviser to China in the 1950s.

Kim Il Sung is reported to have mentioned this in his conversations with Comrade Chernenko, but without receiving a response.  He previously did not know Comrade Chernenko and hence did not know how thoroughly he can discuss these matters with him.  That is why he purportedly avoided to portray the postponement of Comrade Arkhipov’s visit to China as a mistake.  Kim Il Sung is nevertheless of the opinion that this visit could create trust between the USSR and China.  He bases this on the fact that out of the five members of the presidium of the CCP CC[2] two know Comrade Arkhipov from his past adviser activity, which [in the mind of Kim Il Sung] represents a firm foundation for effective talks.

Kim Il Sung reportedly requested, several times, from Comrade Honecker to influence the Soviet comrades at the upcoming summit in such a way so that Comrade Arkhipov can soon realize his visit to China and the exchange of delegations is overall increased.

Hu Yaobang allegedly told Kim Il Sung in May 1984 that the Soviet side apparently does not correctly evaluate China’s efforts for the development of relations.  Hu Yaobang mentioned as an example that only the Chinese foreign minister was sent to Moscow for the burial of Comrade Brezhnev, but for the burial of Comrade Andropov the First Deputy Premier was sent to Moscow, which was supposed to be a friendly gesture on the part of the Chinese.

According to the opinion of Kim Il Sung, all socialist countries should make efforts to create trust between the USSR and China and not foment suspicion.  During his conversations in Moscow, Kim Il Sung reportedly also expressed that the present Chinese leadership wants to fundamentally straighten out socialist construction and does not wish conflict.  According to Kim Il Sung’s view, it is important to support the People’s Republic of China in its socialist modernization in order not to cede the important Chinese market to the imperialist states.

Kim Il Sung was of the opinion that the old Chinese leadership generation is dying and that the new one has to make a new beginning.  If the socialist countries do not support this leadership generation [according to Kim Il Sung], then there exists the danger of China becoming a half-colony of imperialism.

Economic relations with China should especially be improved through investments [according to Kim Il Sung].

In connection with the planned visit of Comrade Arkhipov to China, [according to Kim Il Sung] the USSR should be asked to assist the modernization of the factories built by the USSR in the 50s.

On the Non-Aligned Movement

The DPRK has been a member of this movement since 1975, but lately is reported to no longer be a member.  According to Kim Il Sung’s evaluation, although the movement supports a new world economic order, it does not have the strength to realize this goal.  The non-aligned states are politically dependent [sic][3], but economically not independent, and therefore the danger of neo-colonialism is growing, especially through the policies of the USA and Japan.

The non-aligned states cannot confront this danger through their cooperation with each other, because they need the help of the developed countries for their necessary industrialization.  The best solution would therefore be a merging of the socialist world market with the market of the developing countries.

According to Kim Il Sung’s view, there are two methods to achieve this.  On the one hand, the socialist market should be expanded by admitting individual developing countries; and on the other hand, economic cooperation between individual socialist countries and individual developing countries should be expanded.

Through this the developing countries could be helped to free themselves from the political and especially economic influence of the former colonial powers.  The socialist countries should send specialists to the developing countries and provide them with technical documentation at a cheaper rate than the capitalist states.

As a tradeoff, there would exist the possibility to receive cheap raw materials from these countries.

From the viewpoint of Kim Il Sung, Africa currently represents a focal point.  With the exceptions of Kenya and Morocco, all African heads of state have allegedly been to the DPRK, but due to his health condition, Kim Il Sung was unable to realize visits in return.

The heads of state of these African states reportedly submitted many requests to the DPRK, but the economical potential of the DPRK is not sufficient for this.  The DPRK can primarily support them politically.

In connection with the sending of Korean agricultural specialists and the experiences gained through this, Kim Il Sung estimates that the developing countries do not primarily need the most modern technological equipment.  Purportedly, the Korean specialists in Sudan, for example, substantially contributed to the raising of grain yields per hectare from 800kg to 3-6t through periodic cultivation.

Through such methods [according to Kim Il Sung] effective assistance can be given in solving the food problem, which, at the same time, is a prerequisite for these countries’ ability to transition to industrialization.

On parties in Africa

According to Kim Il Sung’s evaluation, the leadership collectives, leading personalities, and parties in Africa are very differently developed.  The highest level has allegedly been reached in Ethiopia, because there a principled land reform was carried out.  As a result, the Ethiopian leadership won over the peasants and contributed to the tearing down of the traditional tribal conflicts.

Kim Il Sung averred that the progressive African parties should not be treated below their worth.  For example, the DPRK, at one point, used to invite them via the Committee for Cultural Relations Abroad.  This was wrong, since these parties, which see themselves as brothers-in-arms of the WPK, also want to be invited via the Party.

On Japan

Kim Il Sung reportedly expressed his full agreement with the approach of the socialist countries in expanding bilateral relations with Japan.

Kim Il Sung estimated that there exist a variety of very different forces in Japan, that is, forces which demand a bond with the USA and the restoration of Japanese militarism.

In contrast to this, all Japanese mass organizations purportedly advocate against a remilitarization.

In connection with this, [according to Kim Il Sung] it is important which person is in power.  Through Hu Yaobang, who held talks with the Japanese Prime Minister Nakasone, Kim Il Sung reportedly learned that Nakasone explained that Japan should not become cannon fodder for the USA but also that it could not separate itself from the USA.  For the socialist countries, what matters is to work together so that a militarization of Japan cannot happen again.

Regarding the General Association of Koreans Living in Japan, Kim Il Sung explained that this is entirely an association organized by the DPRK and supported materially and ideologically.

On the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Allegedly, Kim Il Sung is informed about the current incidents on the Chinese-Vietnamese border only via press reports.

He estimates that the incidents neither serve the Vietnamese nor the Chinese people and damage the common cause.

On the activity of diplomats of the Korean Embassy

Unofficially, it is being estimated that the majority of Korean diplomats were entrusted with subtasks during the sojourn of Kim Il Sung.

On the Korean side, the Counsellor of the Embassy Ri Tschong Pil [sic] was appointed chief interpreter.

In deviation from the usual protocol, according to which only the interpreter of the host country rides along in the lead vehicle, Ri Tschong Pil [sic] apparently insisted that he also ride along in the lead vehicle.

According to unofficial analysis, Ri Tschong Pil [sic] has a high standing with Kim Il Sung.  This was evidenced, for example, by the fact that Ri Tschong Pil [sic] conforms to Kim Il Sung’s demand that a Korean diplomat must be proficient in the language of his host country.  Since Ri Tschong Pil [sic], in contrast to the Korean Ambassador, is highly proficient in the German language, the impression arose that during the sojourn the Ambassador generally stood in the background.  In making this analysis, our source bases itself on the general experience that normally the particular head of the delegation consults frequently with his ambassador.  However, in this concrete case no details could be gathered.

At the same time it is estimated that the dedication of Ri Tschong Pil [sic] is apparently connected with his personal ambitions to be selected as ambassador to the GDR.

First Secretary Song and the unknown colleague/aide of the military attaché were once again appointed as interpreters by the Korean Embassy.

No concrete details could be gathered on the personnel of the Embassy who are responsible for security questions.  Based on occasional meetings with security officials from the official delegation, our source concludes that possibly Ri Sangpi, staff member at the trade department of the Korean Embassy, and the party secretary of the Embassy were responsible for security questions.

On 6/1/1984 a meeting took place in the Korean Embassy without GDR participation.  Our source has no intelligence on this.

The son of Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il, was present both during the welcoming and in Dresden.  He was always in the company of two young female Koreans, who are apparently receiving an education in music in the GDR, although unofficially it is estimated that they are also entrusted with security tasks.

Overall, it is unofficially estimated that during the sojourn of Kim Il Sung in the GDR no security-political problems arose.

Our source assesses the high amount of journalists, who constantly were in close proximity of Kim Il Sung and hence blocked him out—contrary to the intended effect on the population—especially during honor-guard marches, as a disruptive factor.

Distribution Nöschel

1x Head of the Department Captain

1x HA II/10

1x HA XX

1x Ref. AI

1x File Source

[1] WPK CC = Central Committee of the Worker’s Party of Korea

[2] Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party

[3] In the context of the sentence, the author seems to actually mean “politically independent.”