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April 7, 1967

Telegram from Pyongyang to Bucharest, No.14.213, TOP SECRET, April 7, 1967

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation

Ionescu Teofil had a conversation with the Chinese counselor, Gan Den [sic], from which we took note of the following matters:


When asked by the Romanian diplomat about the rationale behind the current mass media campaign focused on the ‘great revolutionary event’ and on the statements regarding the peril of another war on the Korean Peninsula, the Chinese diplomat answered that all these did not reflect a real and objective situation. Given the existing international circumstances and given the foreign policy line adopted by the DPRK, it can be said that there is no danger of a war for the DPRK. As long as the DPRK joins the forces of those who are hostile towards China, it has no reasons to fear an American aggression or an intervention from the South Korean puppets. (original emphasis) The Americans and the South Koreans are grateful for the current orientation of the North Korean leadership and will do whatever it takes to encourage it. Therefore, they will not undertake any serious action which may improve Sino-North Korean relations. It is very clear to the Americans and the South Koreans that in case a military conflict erupts on 38th parallel, Chinese troops would have to intervene.


On the other side, in the given circumstances, the DPRK will not dare to undertake any serious action along the lines depicted in the North Korean mass media. Having bad relations with China and excellent relations with the USSR represents a disincentive for taking action in the direction of reunifying the country or expelling the Americans from South Korea.


The Chinese diplomat said that whoever knew the North Koreans, was aware that one should not to listen to what they said in public but pay attention to what they did in practice. History proved that the North Koreans said one thing in public and had or did a totally different thing in practice. Therefore, it can be concluded that by stirring things up with propaganda around ‘the great event,’ ‘the danger of American aggression,’ the North Koreans have other objectives in mind, such as:


- Masking their lack of revolutionary spirit;


- Compelling socialist countries in Europe, above all the USSR, to grant the DPRK material and financial assistance, and having a sound justification for asking for this sort of assistance;


- Drawing the attention of the masses away from serious problems, for example: the economic situation of the country; the material situation of the population; the failure of the 7-year plan; renouncing to self-reliance; and directing the attention of the masses to military matters, the peril of a war, since the leadership is certain that a war is not likely and that the Americans and the South Koreans will not pay attention to North Korean propaganda, knowing what lies behind it.


In case this propaganda is backed up by actions directed at the normalization of relations with China, then the basis for DPRK’s position would be concrete. However, at the time being, the North Koreans are working hard at worsening relations with China and at persuading public opinion to follow suit. Concomitantly, they are doing their best to cultivate hostile sentiments toward China among the North Korean population, to convince it by means of gross fabrications, that the Chinese people is its enemy, that China is meddling in the internal affairs of the DPRK, that it seeks to economically strangle the DPRK. The North Korean leadership are asking and receiving from China wheat (200,000 tons), soy beans for oil (60,000 tons), coke coal, crude. In spite of all these, they are misinforming the population about how China is not delivering the aforementioned goods, how it does not respect its treaty obligations, all these in order to starve off the population and economically strangle the DPRK.


The Chinese counselor said that the more the DPRK leadership lied, the more aid China would send to North Korea, so as to put the North Koreans in a position where they would have to lie even more and thus expose themselves. For the current year, the PRC would increase its deliveries of wheat, soy beans for cooking oil, coke coal and petroleum products to the DPRK. (From the information we currently have, during their trip to Moscow, both Kim Il Sung and Kim Il asked the Soviets to increase their deliveries of petroleum products, wheat, cooking oil, coke coal, so as to fill in the gaps created by China’s refusal to deliver these goods.)


When asked about the echo of these actions within the masses, the Chinese diplomat answered that he did not know anything about that topic. Subsequently he said that the two peoples were linked by an old friendship, which would eventually help truth prevail.


The North Korean people, he added, knew that China represented the guarantee of the very existence of the DPRK and that the Chinese people had helped and always would help the North Korean people, in any given circumstances.


Signed: N. Popa



Ionescu Teofil and the Chinese counselor in Pyongyang discuss the "great revolutionary event" in North Korea and the state of play in Sino-North Korean relations.


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Archive of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Obtained and translated for NKIDP by Eliza Gheorghe.


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