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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 16, 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 discusses South Korean leader Park Chung Hee, as well as the revolt in Busan and Masan on the 19th April 1960 and the uprising that broke out in October. Elsewhere, Kim discusses policy towards the US and South Korea regarding the resolution of the unification issue, and of the DPRK’s proposal for a peaceful solution. He thanks Tito for his active support and solidarity towards the DPRK.
    "Letter, Kim Il Sung to Josip Broz Tito," November 16, 1979, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archives of Yugoslavia (AJ), KPR I-1/662. Contributed by Martin Coles and translated by Anja Anđelković. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208713
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208713

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To:

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,

My close friend, I am sending you this message concerning the latest situation that occurred in our country together with warm, comradely greetings.

As you know, on October 26 this year there was an incident in south Korea; Dictator Park Chung-Hee was killed by his loyal helper’s bullets.

We deem this a conspiratorial incident that the U.S. planned in advance with the aim to find a way out of the deepest financial crisis and social chaos - caused by demonstrations against the government and the student and citizen rebellion in Busan, Masan and other places in south Korea - as well as with the aim to keep their colonial empire at any cost.

The rebellions in Busan and Masan were even more serious than the uprising on April 19, 1960 that resulted in disenthroning Syngman Rhee’s puppet rule.

It was mostly students who rebelled on April 19, but during the recent uprisings in Busan and Masan it wasn’t only students, but workers and other citizens. Even the citizens of Seoul were ready to join at any moment.

The United States of America were very upset about this and, fearing our attack on the South in the case of the rebellion spreading and the political chaos deepening in south Korea, they wanted to eliminate Park Chung-Hee as a preventative action to remedy the situation.

On one hand, wanting to appease the dissatisfied people and eliminating mercenaries who became inappropriate for them, and on the other, talking even louder about the so called “dangers of the attack from the North”, the United States are trying to massively gather their armed forces in south Korea and its surrounding regions. By doing so, they are threatening the south Korean people so that they wouldn’t start to fight.

It seems like the U.S. are aiming to save the dictatorship without Park Chung-Hee, but, formally, in a more flexible format. However, they can’t remedy the situation and stop the growing rebellion of south Korean citizens.

We can say that today’s state of events in south Korea is the ideal breeding ground for our people’s fight to reunify the Fatherland. Right now, we are certain that it is not possible to find a solution for any of the questions related to reunifying the Fatherland with Park Chung-Hee’s clique who exercized a barbaric, fascist-terrorist domination in south Korea, betrayed the Fatherland and the nation and, relying on foreign forces, he desperately resorted to splitting up the nation and confrontation. Even more so because even the south Korean opposing parties and democrats stepped out against maintaining a dialogue with them. This is why we didn’t manage to have any discussions with them.

Now that the south Korean dictator ended up dead, we can finally say that one big hurdle on the road to unifying the Fatherland was eliminated.

In these conditions, believing that now is the right time to seek efficient ways to accomplish an independent and peaceful reunification of the Fatherland by joining forces of the South and the North of Korea, we described the position of our Party on November 9 - open up new perspectives for the nation by collaborating, joining forces and uniting.

We suggested that we forget the past. The North and the South should unite and collaborate in order to accomplish the great holy thing of uniting the Fatherland, overcoming all the differences in ideologies and ideals, and differences in the system. We need to reduce the army participation and create an atmosphere of national accord. We insisted on renewing the dialogue between the North and the South in order to solve everyday issues.

All of these objective and righteous suggestions of ours were met with a positive response by the world’s public opinion.

We will continue to stick to the opinion that, in order to have an independent and peaceful unification of Korea, we need to be in negotiations with the U.S. as well.

Resolving the issue of the independent unification of Korea, without the interference of foreign powers, only using the forces of the Korean people themselves, and in a peaceful manner, demands that the U.S. troops leave south Korea. It is because of this that the U.S. have to reconsider the question of exchanging the armistice agreement for a peace treaty.

So far, the U.S. has been stubbornly insisting on allowing the south Korean leaders access to negotiations with us. In the conditions when Park Chung-Hee is eliminated, the issue of south Korean leaders participating as spectators in the negotiations between the U.S. and us can be easily solved.

It seems like the U.S. is frightened that, in case that they call off their forces from south Korea, we would unite Korea under the flag of socialism and disturb the so called “balance of power” in Asian countries and in the Pacific region.


However, even after the unification of the North and the South, we won’t pose any threats to anyone and we won’t impose our own social system to south Korea. We have the intention to accomplish the unification of the country through collaboration and consolidation, while maintaining the two existing systems on the North and the South. And after the unification, our country won’t become a satellite of any other country and it will remain a fully independent and non-aligned country.

In the conditions of a peaceful unification of the country, we will leave the national capitalists in south Korea and we won’t meddle into foreign economic concessions in south Korea. We have the intention to actively accelerate the issue of unifying the Fatherland in this direction.


Without any doubt, the current situation in south Korea is as unstable as it was before, and we have to follow how the current events will unfold.

While informing you about our opinion concerning the development of a very different situation in south Korea, dear Comrade President, I am also extending my deepest gratitude for your constant attention to the righteous solution of the Korean question, and for your active support and solidarity with us. As our close friend, you established a great movement on the international scene, supporting the righteous matter of our people to independently and peacefully unify the country. Having contacts with the U.S. leaders, you put great effort into opening up negotiations between us and the U.S. These efforts of yours are a great support in accelerating the great issue of our people - unifying the Fatherland.

I am asking you to continue supporting the suggestions for unifying the Fatherland that we’ve already posed in regard to the current situation and to be an even stronger influence for negotiations between us and the U.S.

Finally, I am expressing my assurance that the exceptional relationships of friendship and cooperation between our two parties, countries and peoples, will expand and develop further in our common fight for accomplishing the great cause of socialism and the Non-Aligned Movement. From all my heart, I wish you many new successes in your responsible work on strengthening and developing the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, together with good health and happiness.

With my utmost respect,
General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea

President of The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Kim Il Sung

Pyongyang

November 16, 1979