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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 12, 1978

UNTITLED REPORT FROM BRUN, POLISH INTELLIGENCE STATION TOKYO, CONCERNING HUA GUOFENG’S VISIT TO PYONGYANG

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    Hua Gufeng visited Pyongyang to brief the DPRK on China's new foreign policy and attempt to dispel any concerns held by Kim Il Sung.
    "Untitled report from Brun, Polish Intelligence Station Tokyo, concerning Hua Guofeng’s visit to Pyongyang," May 12, 1978, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AIPN, 02011/600/D. Obtained by Marek Hańderek and translated by Jerzy Giebułtowski. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208554
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208554

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Date of receipt 12 May 1978

Time 18.10 [6.10 p.m.]

[handwritten] v. urgent

EPI number NB095W

TOP SECRET

No copies

Copy no 3

Code message No 2323

3/4 transmitted after no 79 12 May 1978 13.40 Tokyo

JAR – E – H

[Handwritten] SPCHKO

Concerns M-4. The station’s appraisal on the basis of accidental conversations and own analysis of Hua Guofeng’s visit to Pyongyang.

1. The Chinese leadership received information from the DPRK that Kim Il Sung is worried about Beijing’s new foreign policy. Pyongyang began to conclude that China’s rapprochement with the West, establish ties with Japan and the USA must, in consequence, lead to – at least – Beijing turning indifferent toward Korean reunification along the familiar lines put forward by Kim Il Sung. The Korean leadership expressed serious fears that China might wish to make, at DPRK expense far-reaching concessions to the US and support American military presence in South Korea and thus “freeze” the current state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula and remove the “Korean problem” from the international agenda. Beijing, on the other hand, feared that having misread China’s political goals the DPRK would move closer to the USSR, as it is the case with Vietnam.

So the object of Hua’s visit was, in the first place, to dispel Kim’s fears, and at the same time express support for DPRK policy with regard to Park’s regime in Seoul and to US troops’ withdrawal from South Korea.

[handwritten]

sec.[tion] XI

Code message no: 2323
Sender: Tokyo code words: SPCHKO  No EPI NB 095W

OCH–003447/P/78

Sender’s no: 79

date: 12 May 1979
Officer: “BRUN”

[Dok. 14 s. 3]

code message No: 2323/p.2

The talks, however, must have been very difficult, since Hua had to condemn American imperialism several times, and at the same time hold his tongue so as not to utter his favorite slogan about social imperialism. It does not seem, however, that Hua – despite many gestures directed at the Host (such as visiting Kim’s birthplace), had completely convinced the DPRK leadership that the Chinese policy is correct.

It is also possible that Kim accepted the Chinese proposal concerning the arrangement of a secret meeting of Brzeziński with a DPRK representative on Chinese territory, during Brzeziński’s visit to Beijing. (That was one of the reasons why American journalists were not allowed to accompany Brzeziński on his trip to China). It is stressed that after his visit to Beijing, Brzeziński will visit Tokyo and Seoul, so Korea will be a subject of Brzeziński’s talks with Chinese leaders. Hua’s position that “only the US president can be Kim’s partner” – naturally with Hua’s support – must have been flattering to the Korean leader.

So [our] assessment is that Hua’s visit to Pyongyang is a Beijing play, aimed at consolidating its influence in Korea, obtaining a bargaining chip in talks with the USA and regaining the status of a power (as in the 1950s) “without which there can be no solution to the Korean problem.”

2. One of the most interesting topics was the activation of Korea on the Non-Aligned Movement and Pyongyang’s diplomatic activity in the third world. The Chinese promoted the theory that the DPRK should  take the role of Cuba and Algeria and counter Cuba’s role in the Third World. The assumption is that the aim of Hua’s visit in Yugoslavia and Romania would be to win those countries over for Chinese policy, aimed at limiting and eliminating Soviet influence in the Non-Aligned Movement.

3. Hua’s Korean visit had an intra-Chinese aspect as well. We are aware that the old PRC apparatus misunderstands (which borders on awkwardness) the swift process of China’s changing course to cooperation with NATO countries and with the conservative elements in the West. So Hua’s support for „Korea’s fight against US imperialism” was also aimed at pacifying China’s domestic mood.

code message No: 2323 p. 3

4. Hua’s visit to Pyongyang shows that the Chinese leader – although he is not experienced in international affairs – intends to have a role on the international arena and play the role of a „distinguished statesman.”

5. I have formulated this opinion upon my colleagues request, a PR resident [i.e. the KGB resident], who receives urgent instructions to treat now the Chinese-Korean affairs as most important.

/–/ Brun

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