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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 18, 1979

LETTER, KIM IL SUNG TO JOSIP BROZ TITO

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation, Kyungnam University

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    Kim Il Sung concluded that trilateral talks with US, South Korea, and North Korea is an unrealistic solution for Korean reunification. He underlined that a true dialogue in regards of Korea issues has to come through the United States.
    "Letter, Kim Il Sung to Josip Broz Tito," July 18, 1979, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archives of Yugoslavia (AJ), KPR I-1/661. Contributed by Martin Coles and translated by Anja Anđelković. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208711
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THE MESSAGE OF PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA, KIM IL SUNG

Translation

President of the League of Communist of Yugoslavia

President of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,

Comrade Josip Broz Tito

Belgrade

Dear Comrade Josip Broz Tito,

Close friend, I am sending you warm brotherly regards and this letter in accordance with our most exceptional tradition of mutual correspondence and consulting about the most important current questions.

We have published the statement of the Deputy of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the recent visit of President Carter to south Korea and the suggestion for “trilateral talks” that was proposed during that visit by the US and the south Korean leaders.

We believe that you have, surely, already received a relevant report about this, considering that our ambassador in your country informed your Party and Government about this in a timely fashion.

We have seriously considered the “suggestion” about starting the “trilateral talks”, with our country, the US and south Korean leaders participating, that were this time proposed by Carter and the south Korean ruler “together”, and we came to the conclusion that this is an unrealistic and illogical solution and that it is not based on an honest desire to truly resolve the Korean question.

As you are well aware, we have already suggested to start the negotiation with the US with the aim to consider the questions of the withdrawal of American troops from south Korea and to swap the Armistice Agreement with a peace treaty, not only to consider the question of Korea’s unification.

As for the question of Korea’s unification, that is an internal affairs question that has to be resolved by Koreans themselves through a dialogue between the North and the South, and there is no need for the Americans to meddle into this.

If the Americans would meddle into this, that would be meddling into internal affairs.

However, “the trilateral talks”, that both the US and south Korean leaders are advocating for, mean that those two different questions should be brought together and discussed together.

If these two questions are to be brought together, then the US would be meddling, without any reason, into considering the question of Korea which should be resolved by us, Koreans; and south Korean leaders, who are not a directly involved party, would be meddling into the negotiation between us and the US about the question of withdrawing the American army from south Korea and swapping the Armistice agreement with a peace treaty.

The US state they can’t participate in negotiations with us without the participation of south Korea. However, south Korean leaders have no right whatsoever to participate in negotiations between us and the US about the question of changing the Armistice agreement for a peace treaty, considering the fact that they are not a party who signed the Korean Armistice Agreement.

They are determinedly standing behind the division of the country and the politics of war and that is why, if they would be allowed to participate in the negotiations, that would be of no use and it would only obstruct the examination of the issue.

And not only that, today, the opposing parties and the democratic deputies of south Korea insist on south Korean rulers not being able to hold a monopoly on considering the questions of unifying the homeland today, and on them being also able to participate in the negotiations between the North and the South. Recently, they are even suggesting directly meeting us.

Having these facts in mind, in the statement of the deputy of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we have again clearly stated our belief that the question of the unification of Korea has to be resolved by the Koreas through an all-encompassing dialogue between the North and the South, and the question of the withdrawal of American army from south Korea and the exchange of the armistice agreement with a peace treaty especially has to be resolved through negotiations between our country and the US.

We have clearly underlined that the negotiations between us and the US have to happen first and, if the American side of them keeps on stubbornly insisting, then we will allow the south Korean leaders to participate in the capacity of observers.

If the US have no aggressive ambitions in regards to Korea and if they are sincerely trying to resolve the Korean question in a peaceful manner, there is no reason for them to reject the negotiations with us.

We are advocating for successfully resolving the Korean question in a peaceful manner together with the US, but they keep refusing, as they have so far, to accept our sincere beliefs and our just suggestion.

We sincerely wish to negotiate. However, the US and south Korean leaders, incessantly talking about the so called “strengthening of North Korean armed forces” and about “the threats to the peace”, keep growing the armed forces in south Korea and they aim to keep the American army there for good. Also, they are fighting for the politics of division and war that is hiding a threat in itself.

There can be no use in this.

If the US and south Korean rulers really wish to negotiate with us, then they have to shed their twisted belief about the permanent division of our country on “two Koreas” and to accept the right belief about establishing peace in Korea and its unification in a peaceful manner.

Informing you, dear Comrade President, about our belief with regards to the question of the unification of our country, I express my hope that you will take part in supporting the great cause of our people to unify the homeland.

I am extremely grateful that you paid great attention to resolving the Korean question and that you actively advocated for giving us support on an international scene, and this is why I am asking you to pay even greater attention to this so that we can accomplish our just suggestions that were stated in the statement of the President of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Lastly, I express my assurance that the exceptional relationship of friendship and cooperation that now exists between our parties, governments and people of our two countries will grow stronger and develop day by day, and I wish you good health, happiness and even greater successes in Your noble work on building up socialism in your country and strengthening and developing the Non-Aligned Movement from the bottom of my heart.

With exceptional respect,

General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Worker’s Party of Korea

President of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Kim Il Sung

Pyongyang

July 18, 1979