December 2, 1969
From the Journal of N.G. Sudarikov, 'Record of a Conversation with Kim Il, Member of the KWP CC Politburo and First Deputy Chairman of the DPRK Cabinet of Ministers'
This document was made possible with support from Kyungnam University
SOVIET EMBASSY IN THE DPRK
4 December 1969
Copy Nº 1
[CPSU CC stamp:
15 DECEMBER 1969]
from the journal
of N. G. SUDARIKOV
RECORD OF A CONVERSATION
with KIM IL, member of the KWP CC Politburo and First Deputy Chairman of the DPRK Cabinet of Ministers
2 December 1969
The conversation with Kim Il was held at our initiative.
1. in accordance with instructions I delivered Cde. A .N. Kosygin’s letter of reply to Cde. Kim Il Sung’s 5 November letter to Kim Il to forward as designated which reports the Soviet government’s agreement to grant the DPRK a deferment to repay the debt which the Korean side has formed in 1969 in trade with the Soviet Union.
Kim Il expressed gratitude for passing the reply of the Soviet government, and said that he would immediately report to Cde. Kim Il Sung about Cde. A. N. Kosygin’s letter.
Kim Il said, the KWP CC notes with pleasure the steady growth of the trade turnover and the increase of the volume of technical and scientific cooperation between the DPRK and the USSR. At the same time the Politburo has repeatedly considered the question of measures which ought to be taken to avoid a debt arising in trade with the Soviet Union and other countries in connection with the corresponding growth and obligations of the DPRK. In spite of the practical steps taken in this direction, the DPRK’s indebtedness in trade has continued to increase. This is explained by certain difficulties with the production of electric power, which exerts a negative effect on the operation of all industry, especially the metallurgical [industry], which has in turn led to a reduction of the export capabilities of the DPRK. In such a situation the KWP CC Politburo has decided to turn to the Soviet Union with a request to grant a deferment in the repayment of the indebtedness of the Korean side for the trade turnover of this year. Kim Il noted, we hoped that the CPSU CC and the Soviet government would treat our request with full understanding.
[Translator’s note: there is a stamp at the end of the first page stating that “the material is informative and the CPSU CC Department has been familiarized with [it]. Katerinich; 15D/6 29 December 1969. Sector chief [[illegible name, possibly also Katerinich]]. [[To the]] archives”, and one additional illegible signature].
I said that the reply of the Soviet government just sent by us to the DPRK government shows with what great attention the question raised by the Korean comrades was considered.
At the same time I directed Kim Il’s attention to the Soviet Union’s acute need for deliveries of a number of goods from the DPRK, first and foremost metals. I expressed the hope that the Korean side would increase the volume of its deliveries in December. I noted that during this period an increase of the arrival of goods to the DPRK from the Soviet Union is forecast.
Kim Il said that the Korean side took measures back in October to increase the volume of the shipments of its goods to the Soviet Union. However, a situation has developed that the Khasan railroad station has not been able to accept the entire flow of goods.
I explained to Kim Il that the difficulties in processing cargo ascribed to the Khasan station were caused by the irregularity of their arrival.
Kim Il agreed with this.
I asked whether I could report to Moscow that the Korean side will take ever step by the end of the year to improve the shipment of their goods to the Soviet Union, which would have definite significance for a solution of the problem of trade turnover between the USSR and DPRK for 1970.
Kim Il replied that, of course, such steps will be taken, but the DPRK’s indebtedness in trade to the USSR will nevertheless be in the same volume which was indicated in Cde. Kim Il Sung’s letter of 5 November. He added that Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers Pak Seong-cheol and Jeong Jun-taek, who are leaving for Moscow in several days, would inform the Soviet side about this question in more detail to take part in the [one word crossed out, possibly “fifth”] meeting of the intergovernmental Korean-Soviet Consultative Commission.
2. In accordance with instructions I informed Kim Il about the plan of events in connection with the 25th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany adopted by the CPSU CC. I stressed that this date is being given great political significance, taking into account the current international situation. I said that we are counting on the support of the KWP CC and the active participation of the Korean comrades in this campaign.
Kim Il expressed gratitude for the information, and expressed the opinion that the KWP CC would hold appropriate events in connection with the defeat of fascist Germany. The victory over fascism is an event of international importance. He said, right now when revanchist and militarist forces in the West and the East are trying to rear [their] heads it is very important to increase vigilance with respect to their aggressive intrigues.
3. In the course of the conversation I touched on the expanded KWP CC plenum being held in Pyongyang.
Kim Il said that questions have been submitted to the plenum, which will last 3-4 days, about the further improvement of the work of the Union of Socialist Working Youth of Korea, and strengthening the Party leadership in the field of education, and about convening a fifth congress of the Korean Worker’s Party. He reported that it is planned to convene the KWP congress in October 1970.
I asked, will other questions be discussed at the plenum, for example, the results of the International Conference of Communist and Worker’s Parties, of which Cde. Kim Il Sung spoke this summer[?]
Kim Il replied that the results of the Moscow Conference have not been included in the plenum’s agenda. He said, the main attention in the domestic life of the country is being devoted to ensuring the conclusion of the seven-year plan of the development of the economy next year in order to take note of the labor successes in the next Party congress. Great work is being done at the present time to draw up a new economic plan.
[I] noted that the five-year plan for the development of the economy for 1971-1975 is also being developed in the Soviet Union. This creates conditions for closer economic cooperation between the USSR and the DPRK. Questions of a long-range nature will be discussed at the fifth meeting of the intergovernmental Korean-Soviet Consultative Commission on Economic, Scientific, and Technical Questions, which will be held in Moscow in December of this year.
Kim Il confirmed that the Korean side is ready to discuss questions of long-range economic cooperation with the Soviet Union.
4. I asked Kim Il to talk about the situation in the DPRK economy.
He reported that many difficult problems arose in the operation of the industrial enterprises of the country this year. Very little rain fell in 1968, which had a negative effect on the operation of hydroelectric stations in the spring of 1969, which comprise the basis of the country’s base of electricity for the time being. The shortage of electrical power, in turn, led to the appearance of difficulties in all the leading industrial sectors of the DPRK – metallurgical, chemical, coal, mining, etc., which are energy-intensive industrial sectors.
This year [we] have also not managed to solve the problem of providing industry with electrical power. In spite of the fact that a considerable amount of precipitation fell during the rainy period the hydroelectric stations’ reservoirs were not filled with water since the main rains were in the flatlands of the country, and not in the zone of the reservoirs of the hydroelectric stations.
In such a situation the KWP CC and DPRK government attach great importance to accelerating the construction of the Bukchang [Pukchang] thermal power station being built with the technical assistance of the Soviet Union. We need three units with a total capacity of 300,000 kwt to be in operation at this station by the end of 1969 and a fourth unit in the first quarter of 1970. Even considering the putting of this additional capacity in operation the country’s economy will nevertheless experience a shortage of a supply of electric power. Kim Il asked that this situation be regarded with understanding and that everything possible be done to accelerate the installation of equipment at the Bukchang thermal power station. While he said this he stressed that the Soviet specialists at Bukchang are working very well.
We said that the Soviet side is keeping the progress of the fulfillment of [its] responsibilities to supply equipment for the Bukchang thermal power station and its installation under constant observation. Everything possible will be done by our side so that the capacity of this power station is put into operation on time.
I asked about the results of the agricultural year in the DPRK.
Kim Il noted that quite unfavorable weather conditions have developed for agricultural production this year. The spring frosts exerted a negative influence on the ripening of the winter crops. Fewer sunny days and lower than normal average annual temperatures have also had an effect on the rice harvest. The threshing of the rice showed that all the grain in a spike of rice turned out to be lower than expected. As a result of this, said Kim …[Translator’s comment: available text ends at this point].
Sudarikov and Kim discuss North Korea's debt and other economic problems.
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