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February 28, 1968

Telegram from Pyongyang to Bucharest, TOP SECRET, No. 76.053, Regular

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation

On February 28, the Korean Central News Agency published a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman on the extremely tense situation on the Korean peninsula.


After mentioning that over the past year the provocative acts of the American occupiers and their puppets in Seoul have intensified, the statement mentions that, at the moment, the forces of the South Korean army, acting under the protective arm of the United States, are feverishly preparing for war, ‘which creates a very grave situation in Korea so that war can erupt at any point in time.’


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman refutes the attempt of the South Koreans and the United States to put the blame on the DPRK for the current situation and assign guilt to the DPRK for the January 21 events in Seoul and for the illegal capture of the USS Pueblo vessel. The document underlines that the American imperialists are trying to use the USS Pueblo case to find a pretext for unleashing a war, ‘which is made clear by the fact that, at the negotiating table in Panmunjeom (on this issue—our note), they are not in possession of even the most basic form of scrupulousness, instead creating only obstruction with their hostile positions.’


The conclusion of the declaration points out that ‘as long as the American imperialists are undertaking aggressive and warmongering acts, without assuming responsibility for them (here the North Koreans are pointing to the Pueblo incident—our note), and pursuing war maneuvers and blackmailing the DPRK, the current situation of extreme tensions cannot be diffused.’


A day before, the Korean newspapers published a lengthy op-ed along the [party] lines which dealt with the tasks to be assumed by the Korean population in the current circumstances of ‘maximum tension’ and in case a war breaks out. The piece is imbued from the beginning until the end with an emphasis on the sacred duty of every worker and soldier in the People’s Army to ‘arm himself with the great revolutionary ideology of comrade Kim Il Sung, to reject all other ideologies except for this one, to think and to act only along the ideological lines and the will of the leader, to unconditionally carry out the orders and the indications of the leader, to defend with their own lives the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party, led by comrade Kim Il Sung.’


The article also stresses the need for a speedy development of the economy and defense capabilities, and emphasized on the duty of each economic unit to be ready and prepared to produce in the most critical conditions, on the need to efficiently run the military-strategic areas, to rapidly develop the military industry, to create stocks of provisions and fuel, etc.


According to Radio Seoul, significant amounts of American weapons (part of the additional $100 million aid agreement) have already been shipped to South Korea.


By the end of the month, South Korea will mobilize up to one million soldiers from their 2.5 million reserves, a threshold to be achieved by the summer of 1968.


All South Korean localities are organizing self-defense units, which will be equipped with the light weapons from the South Korean Army, given that the South Korean Army will receive the new weaponry from the United States.


Signed: N. Popa

The Embassy of Romania in the DPRK summarizes war preparations undertaken by both North and South Korea in the aftermath of the Blue House Raid and the seizure of the USS Pueblo.


Document Information


Political Affairs Fond, Telegrams from Pyongyang, TOP SECRET, 1968, Archive of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Obtained and translated for NKIDP by Eliza Gheorghe.


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