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August 11, 1961

Some Problems of North Korea

This document was made possible with support from ROK Ministry of Unification

[GDR Ministry for Foreign Affairs]

1st Extra-European Department

Section Korea


Berlin, 11 August 1961


Strictly confidential!



Some Problems in the DPRK



  1. The Existence of two States in Korea


 The DPRK government does not recognize the existence of two states in Korea. Legal foundations of this position are the all-Korean elections of August 1948 and the subsequent formation of the Supreme People's Assembly (elections in the South were held illegally, turnout was 77.2 percent). The DPRK and its government were proclaimed, the latter comprised of 7 representatives each from North and South Korea.


The [DPRK] constitution reflects this position as well. Article 103 states: The capital of the DPRK is Seoul.


Accordingly, the DPRK is always called the Northern part of the republic. South Korean power organs are never called government or state organs, but are mostly referred to as administrative agencies.


The confederation plan proposed by Kim Il Sung on 15 August 1960 does not indicate that DPRK positions have changed. The confederation plan as well talks about South Korean administrative agencies.


In general, positions of the DPRK can be summarized as follows: There exists only one state in Korea, namely the DPRK. Due to the American rule over South Korea, the DPRK is currently incapable to exert its authority over the entire territory. Supported by the United States, there exist administrative agencies in South Korea to exercise certain executive duties. Yet those do not allow for the existence of a South Korean state.


These positions, in conjunction with the confederation plan and the effective existence of a South Korean state, frequently lead to complicated problems for the Korean comrades. They force them to circumvent a  consequent adherence to a one-state-position:


a) Participation of the DPRK in international organizations where South Korea is represented as well: The DPRK opts for participation, but this way it also recognizes South Korea as an equal partner.

b) Formation of all-Korean teams for the Olympic Games: This is supported by the DPRK as well.

c) The DPRK rejects a discussion of the Korean question in the United Nations. The UN is said to be not competent. However, if the Korean question would be discussed and South Korea invited, the DPRK posits that then the United Nation also have to listen to representatives from the DPRK.


  1. Assessment of the Situation in Korea


The assessment made under 1. shows some of the problems for the main solution to the struggle in South Korea, as it is propagated by the DPRK: “Immediate withdrawal of US occupation forces” figures as the main obstacle to Korean reunification.


This solution is correct as such, but in the past it was emphasized in unbalanced fashion. The focus was entirely on this issue.


This resulted in an underestimation of South Korean reactionary forces and the negation of any autonomous actions by those South Korean hostile forces.

A Marxist-Leninist party does not exist in South Korea. Democratic forces have a weak organization and are fragmented. Ties to the South are extremely dangerous, propaganda is mostly transmitted through radio.


Deficits of knowledge about the situation in the South, as well as the overemphasis of struggle against US imperialism, subsequently also led to initial misjudgment of the fascist military coup of 16 May 1961. The overthrow of the Chang Myeon government by the military clique was hailed as a blow against the United States. The [DPRK] government statement drafted for publication stated [North Korean] support without knowing the motives of the putschists. The rapid sequence of events [in South Korea], and the openly anti-communist slogans of the putschists, eventually made the DPRK government to refrain from publishing its initial draft. However, the latter had already been shared with the ambassadors from socialist countries [in Pyongyang].


The current DPRK assessment of the coup now goes as follows:

The coup was organized by the United States in order to smash the growing people's movement and to speed up war preparations.


This assessment is not completely identical with our opinions. Of course, the openly anti-communist positions of the putschists conform to the interests of the United States. However, the  government that was overthrown was fully in American hands as well. The timing of the coup was inconvenient for the US since it was shortly before the Vienna Summit [between Khrushchev and Kennedy], and shortly after the [American] setbacks in Cuba and Laos.

Our position is as follows: The coup was organized by South Korean nationalist and fascist officer circles and embraced by the United States from hindsight.

This assessment is identical with Soviet evaluations as they were made by the Soviet side during visits by Comrade Kosygin to Korea and Comrade Kim Il Sung to the USSR.


The belated correct [DPRK] assessment of the coup as a fascist overthrow resulted in late-coming correct orientations to the progressive forces in South Korea. The latter became confused by the nationalist slogans of the putschists and were unable to position themselves accordingly. This situation resulted in grave losses to the democratic forces in South Korea.   


  1. Visit of the DPRK Party and Government Delegation Headed by Kim Il Sung to the Soviet Union


 From 29 June to 10 July a Korean delegation stayed in the Soviet Union (about the same time on site in Moscow as well: a Vietnamese government delegation headed by Pham Van Dong and Chinese Foreign Minister Chen Yi).

These facts testify to an activation of [Soviet] policy towards economic support for the Asian socialist countries and to efforts to achieve completely uniform opinions on all ideological and practical matters, as well as with regard to the resolution of international issues in this region.


The most important result [of the visit] was the signing of a Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance. The following reasons were given:


  • rejection of all proposals for a reduction of tensions in this region by the United States
  • the danger coming from South Korea has increased through the fascist coup
  • the treaty will significantly complicate the Northeast Asia pact South Korea is aiming at because Japan would directly enter a state of war with the Soviet Union in case of a South Korean attack [on North Korea]


During the visit, the Soviet press published several articles against the dangerous course of war pursued by the Japanese government.


Joint [public] Communique


  • Need for a resolution of the Korean question
  • foreign policy issues of the Far East (Laos, SEATO, Taiwan)
  • The question of a peace treaty for Germany is briefly mentioned in one sentence.


Since the visit was also conducted by a [DPRK] party delegation, the communique also contains a paragraph on cooperation between the parties.


The Korean side made a clear commitment to the principles of Marxism-Leninism and the construction of socialism. Interestingly, in its long speech in Moscow before the end of his visit, fully printed in “Pravda”, Kim Il Sung never mentioned the Chollima movement (a movement which first resembled the character of the [Chinese] Great Leap Forward but later on became more similar to socialist brigades). However, after his return to the DPRK Chollima references were to be found again in Kim Il Sung's speech.


According to the Foreign Minister of the RSFSR in a conversation in Moscow, the Soviet side is very pleased with the visit. Orientation towards the Chinese line was said to be a period of the past for Korea.

The PR China is hardly mentioned in speeches and documents. During the Korean reception in Moscow Chen Yi was present as well. He was neither mentioned by the Korean ambassador nor by Kim Il Sung in their welcoming speeches.


The following interesting fact is also worth mentioning:

Both sides commit in the Soviet-Korean communique to fight with Leninist unforgivingness against all forms of revisionism, dogmatism, sectarianism, and deviations from the principles of socialist internationalism.

The Chinese-Korean communique (the visit to China came subsequently) only refers to modern revisionism, against whose leading grouping of Yugoslavia a decisive struggle has to be conducted.


Economic Results


An agreement was signed in addition to the one from 24 December 1960. The latter stipulates the following:


  • 2 power plants
  • expansion of metallurgy factories to 2.8 million tons of steel and 2.3 million tons of rolled steel
  • oil refinery for 2 million tons annually
  • construction of textile factories
  • building a film studio


Additional agreement [August 1961]:


  • additional support for mining industry
  • building of a television center
  • deliveries of chemical equipment
  • long-term credit in order to pay for the Soviet aid


  1. The Visit to the PR China


Speeches have not been analyzed yet. The joint communique contains the following main points:


  • Treaty about Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance
  • Full support for the Moscow Declarations of 1957 and 1960
  • against Yugoslavian revisionism
  • support for Soviet proposals of a peace treaty with Germany
  • US imperialism conducts aggressive activities and war preparations on a global scale
  • the US is about to arm West Germany and Japan; the peoples must be vigilant.
  • support for the struggle against imperialism and colonialism in Laos, South Vietnam, Japan, Algeria, Congo, Angola, Cuba, and elsewhere
  • situation in South Korea – against US occupation
  • against the US thesis of “2 Chinas,” affirming China's holy rights regarding Taiwan
  • recognition of the wise leadership of the KWP under Kim Il Sung and the wise leadership of the CCP under Mao Zedong
  • welcoming the treaty between the Soviet Union and Korea


After his return to Korea Kim Il Sung gave a speech at a mass rally. There he talked right at the beginning about the Chollima movement.


Regarding friendship with the Soviet Union he said in his speech: Firm and unchangeable, eternal and indestructible are friendship and solidarity between the Korean and the Soviet people. It was built historically, solidified and developed through struggle. It is built on the principles of proletarian internationalism and Marxism-Leninism.


On friendship with China he said:


“No power can destroy the friendship and solidarity between the parties, governments, and peoples of Korea and China […].”


It remains to be seen in what form the visits by the Korean party and government delegation will be reflected in the policy of the Korean Workers Party.





1st Copy Central Committee Comrade Sch.

2nd Copy Section Korea

3rd Copy Embassy Pyongyang

A report on North Korea's attitudes toward South Korea and North Korea's relations with the Soviet Union and China.


Document Information


SAPMO-BA, DY 30, IV 2/20/136. Translated for NKIDP by Bernd Schaefer.


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