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Digital Archive International History Declassified

April 29, 1976

WASILEWSKI, 'URGENT REPORT REGARDING THE CURRENT SITUATION IN THE DPRK, ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA'

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    Polish and Soviet officials review the internal situation in and the foreign policy of the DPRK, including relations with both socialist and capitalist countries.
    "Wasilewski, 'Urgent Report regarding the Current Situation in the DPRK, on the Korean Peninsula'," April 29, 1976, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AMSZ, Department II, 12/79, w. 1. Obtained by Marek Hańderek and translated by Jerzy Giebułtowski. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208553
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D.II.Kor-0-2412-1-76

Ministry of foreign affairs

No 0-203/D.II./76

DII-0-173-76

Warsaw, 29 April 1976

SECRET

Copy no 16

/-/ Spasowski

Com. Pawlak

urgent  report

regarding the current situation in the DPRK,

on the Korean Peninsula

In connection with reports of heightened political and military tension in Korea, we turned to the Soviet comrades for their appraisal of the situation in the region.

The Soviet embassy in Warsaw passed on the following appraisal to Department II:

1. Internal situation in the DPRK

The six-year plan, when compared with the official communiqué of the DPRK Central Statistical Office, in fact, has not been fulfilled in a number of branches of the economy. This assessment found confirmation in a resolution of the 11th Plenum of the Korean Workers’ Party. In 1975 industrial production rose by around 15%, which is the greatest achievement of the last 5 years. But the people’s standard of living did not rise. V KWP Congress resolution on real wage increase was not executed though. Food shortages are very acute especially meat, butter, and sugar. At the same time appeals are made that every family stock up rice in case of war.

The KWP leadership tries to explain and justify the society’s physical and moral exhaustion as well as the low standard of living in the DPRK by referring to external factors.

A new figure appeared among the highest leadership. Kim Il Sung’s son, Kim Jong Il, member of the Political Bureau and a KWP CC secretary. He manages all the party and is being groomed as Kim Il Sung’s successor. Behind what the Korean press call’s “Party Center” hides Kim Jong Il.

2. DPRK foreign policy

Recently it has been very active and multidirectional. DPRK diplomatic relations rose in 1975 from 78 to 90 countries. At that time South Korea (so-called Republic of Korea) kept diplomatic relations with 94 countries. The DPRK chose rapprochement with the developing countries and cooperation with parties in those countries, especially those that support so-called revolutionary views of the Korean leadership, also with respect to Korean reunification. DPRK policy vis-à-vis the developing countries is characterized by narrow pragmatism. The DPRK employs waiting tactics and takes no position on many international issues such as the situation in the Middle East, Portugal, etc.

3. DPRK relations with the SCs [socialist countries]

The Korean comrades do not recognize the socialist countries system and do not accept the principle of socialist internationalism, do not want to cooperate with the Soviet Union on the international arena. But they demand that the socialists countries give DPRK policy active support. They did  not officially support a single international proposal of the socialist countries. They actively develop relations with Yugoslavia and Romania and expand interparty cooperation with the LCY and the RCP. That cooperation is realized on the basis of yearly plans.

Considerable influence on DPRK’s foreign policy is exerted by its rivalry with South Korea. This competition forces the DPRK to expand relations with capitalist countries, especially with Japan. According to information from Western press, the DPRK took out loans to expand its industry to the tune of around 430 mil. dollars in total, and short-term trade credit in the total amount of 1 billion dollars.

As a result of Kim Il Sung’s visit to Beijing, the Chinese gave the DPRK a 400 mil. loan in foreign currency. In January 1976 a petroleum pipeline from China to the DPRK was completed. The number of Chinese specialists in the DPRK increased.

The tactics adopted by the DPRK leadership is that of slaloming between the Maoists and the community of socialist countries, and [at the same time] emphasizing its friendship with the People’s Republic of China. Kim Il Sung’s visit to the PRC was called in the DPRK the most important event of the era. The Chinese welcomed DPRK’s membership in the Non-Aligned Movement.

The DPRK leadership did not take the path of anti-Sovietism, they would not embrace Chinese opinions of the USSR. However, the Korean comrades do not present it publicly.

4. Situation of the Korean Peninsula

Both Korean parties started another confrontation. The armed forces of South Korea have 700,000 regular troops, and 2.5 million reservists. North Korea’s potential: 0,5 mil. regular troops and 1.5 mil. reservists. There are 42,000 American troops in South Korea, equipped with tactical nuclear weapons (unconfirmed).

The 7th US Fleet exercises near the Korean coast and the exchange of American Troops in South Korea could alarm the DPRK. The Korean comrades purposely point the situation as more dramatic for domestic consumption, and in order to raise the Korean issues on a global scale.

5. USSR-DPRK relations

Recently we see a cooling. This could be a result of Soviet refusal to receive Kim Il Sung last year. The USSR–DPRK political cooperation is in principle limited to exchange of views on Korea. The DPRK does not take a stance on détente or disarmament. It does not respond to proposals of socialist countries regarding the creation of collective security systems also in Asia.

At the same time, the Korean comrades strive for keeping relations with the USSR at a certain level. Last year’s plan of CPSU-KWP interparty exchange was not executed.

Cooperation between social organizations is unilateral and is limited to visits of Soviet delegations in the DPRK; recently: trade unions, architects and filmmakers associations. Soviet delegations are very warmly received by the Korean comrades, which could mean that they understand the importance of cooperation with the friendly socialist countries.

The Soviet Union is building 23 industrial facilities in the DPRK.

The Korean comrades are developing contacts with the parties in the developing countries, but they do not go beyond certain borders. They do not receive in the DPRK any opponents of Marxist parties, fearing a negative reaction of the friendly parties.  

The Soviet comrades see the point in continued cooperation with the Korean comrades and the Korean Workers’ Party.

/–/ Wasilewski

Recipients:

Copy no  1 Com. Olszowski

Copy no  2 Com. Frelek

Copy no  3 Com. Adamski

Copy no  4 Com. Czyrek

Copy no  5 Com. Kułaga

Copy no  6 Com. Spasowski

Copy no  7 Com. Trepczyński

Copy no  8 Com. Nowakowski

Copy no  9 Com. Feliksiak

Copy no  10 Com. Kinast

Copy no  11 Com. Noworyta

Copy no  12 Com. Pawlak

Copy no  13 Com. Roszak

Copy no  14 Com. Szyszko

Copy no  15 Com. Turbański

Copy no  16 Com. Wasilewski

Copy no  17 Com. Wendrowski

Copy no  18 Com. Witek

Copy no  19 Com. Wykrętowicz

Made in 19 copies on 5 pages

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