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April 4, 1973

Telegram from Pyongyang, No.061.113, Urgent, SECRET

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

To the 2nd Direction, Relations


On 3 April, on the occasion of a meeting with Kim Yeong-nam [Kim Yong Nam], the head of the International Section of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party, he discussed some of the reasons for which, at the latest meeting of the Coordinating Committee, the DPRK had insisted on the measures meant to bring about a relaxation of military tensions and a transformation of the Korean armistice into a peace treaty.


Therefore, he mentioned that since the Vietnam War had ended and since there was a real opportunity to find a political solution to the Korean matter, certain dissensions sprung up within the top echelons of power in Seoul, especially in military circles. Park Chung Hee, Lee Hu-rak, the head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, and several other reactionary elements, with the support of the USA and Japan, were increasingly moving towards the right and in order to maintain their current positions, they were breaking up the process of unification into time sequences. This group is supported by South Korean generals, recently returned from Vietnam, who are instigating against North Korea “to unite the country by defeating communism,” etc. These dissensions amongst military cadres grew also as a consequence of the prospects of a reduction in military aid from the United States, which may impact on the material situation and morale of the South Korean army, which would create great uncertainty for career officers in the South Korean military. As a result of this upheaval amongst militaries, Park Chung Hee was recently compelled to remove from office one of his closest friends, i.e. the head of the Seoul garrison, and several other generals, justifying his decision by stating that they did not present enough trustworthiness.


On the other hand, a certain deviation towards the left is growing increasingly prominent, as displayed by a large number of intellectuals and a great share of militaries, motivated primarily by patriotic feelings, who are more realistic about the possibilities to overcome clashes and differences that have piled on through the years, as a result of the different political systems in the two parts of Korea.


I managed to gather from Kim Yeong-nam’s remarks that the recent proposals of the DPRK were meant to stimulate the leftist trends in South Korea, the aggravation of the internal contradictions which exist in the Seoul administration and military circles and only lastly [they aimed at] adopting some practical measures to achieve a relaxation of military tensions.


My interlocutor mentioned that the DPRK would not be able to get along with Park Chung Hee because of his total submission to American and Japanese interests. Kim Yeong-nam hinted at the fact that the DPRK, by launching its well-known proposals, including the proposal referring to signing a peace treaty, wishes to put the South Korean authorities in a delicate position, one in which they cannot accept any of those proposals but at the same time in which they cannot interrupt the dialogue. Although unable to obtain any concrete successes through cooperation, the North Koreans are winning many followers amongst the opponents of Park Chung Hee, who will help the North Koreans topple the current regime in Seoul.


Getting involved in economic, cultural-social exchanges with the South Koreans would only have created more problems and politically it would have been more efficient for the South, which would have used this [opportunity] as a foundation for its separatist tendencies, arguing that the North Koreans recognize South Korea as an economic and commercial partner.


Signed: Dumitru Popa




4월 3일 조선로동당 중앙위원회 국제관계부 부장 김영남과의 회담에서, 김영남은 조절위원회의 최근 회담에서 조선민주주의인민공화국이 어떠한 이유로 군사 긴장을 완화하고 조선의 휴전을 평화조약으로 변화시키는 방안을 고집했는지에 대해 이야기했다.


그는 베트남전의 종결과 조선/한국 문제에 대한 정치적 해결책 발굴의 현실적 기회 존재로 인해 서울의 권력층, 특히 군부 사이에서 어떠한 알력이 생겨났다고 말했다. 박정희와 중앙정보부 국장 이후락, 그리고 기타 몇몇 반동분자들은 미국과 일본의 지원을 받아 우측으로 움직이고 있었으며 또한 그들의 현상유지를 위하여 통일 절차를 시간차로 나누고 있었다. 이들 단체는 최근 베트남에서 돌아온 남조선 장교들의 지지를 받고 있으며 이 장교들은 사회주의 박멸을 통한 통일 등으로 북조선에 부정적인 의견을 부추기고 있다. 이와 같은 군사간부 사이의 불화는 미국으로부터의 군사지원 축소 가능성으로 인해 심화되었는데, 이와 같은 변화가 물질적 형편과 남조선 군의 사기 저하를 가지고 와 남측 직업군인들에게 큰 불안정을 가져올 수 있기 때문이다. 이러한 군 간부 사이의 격변의 결과로 최근 박정희는 그의 가장 가까운 친구 중 하나인 수도방위사령관과 기타 몇몇 장군들을 믿음직하지 않다는 사유로 자리에서 내쳤다.


반면 애국심으로 가득한 많은 지식인과 상당한 군 간부들 사이에서는 좌측으로의 움직임이 상당히 증가하고 있다. 이들은 두 조선의 정치체계 차이로 인해 수년간 쌓여 온 충돌과 차이 극복 가능성에 대해 보다 현실적이다.


나는 김영남의 발언으로부터 조선민주주의인민공화국의 최근 제안은 남측의 좌파 경향, 서울 행정부와 군사관료 사이에 존재하는 내부 갈등을 고무하고자 한 것이며, [그리고 마지막으로] 군사긴장 상태를 완화하고자 하는 일부 현실적 대안 채택임을 알아챘다.


나의 소식통에 의하면 조선민주주의인민공화국은 미국과 일본에게 완전히 복종하는 박정희와는 잘 지내지 못할 것이라고 한다. 김영남은 조선민주주의인민공화국이 평화조약 체결과 관련된 제안을 포함, 그들의 잘 알려진 제안 개시를 통해 남측 관료들이 이 제안들을 받아들이지도 그렇다고 대화를 중단할 수도 없는 민감한 상황에 놓이도록 하고자 한다고 귀띔했다. 협력을 통해 어떠한 뚜렷한 성공을 거둘 수는 없겠지만 북조선인들은 박정희의 반대파 사이에서 많은 지지자를 얻을 수 있을 것이며 이들은 북조선으로 하여금 서울 정부를 꺾는 데에 도움이 될 것이다.


남조선사람들과 경제적, 사회문화적 교류를 나누는 것은 더 많은 문제를 낳을 뿐이며 정치적으로는 북조선이 남측을 경제, 상업적 동반자로 여긴다고 주장하며 이 [기회]를 분리주의적 경향의 기반으로 사용했을 지 모를 남측에 보다 효율적이었을 수 있다.



서명: Dumitru Popa



KWP Centeral Committee member Kim Yeongnam explains to the Romanian representative that the DPRK proposed changes in the North-South Coordination Committee meeting to ease tensions and transform the armistice into a peace treaty. Kim blames the South Korean hawks and separatists who abide by the interests of the US and Japan for the lack of progress. Despite the impasse, the North Koreans look to the internal dissent against Park Chung Hee in South Korea as a sign of support for Pyongyang.

Document Information


Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archives, Matter 220, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Korea, Secret, MFA, Folder no. 1515, First Directorate – Relations, Regarding Relations between North and South Korea and the Position of Various States on this Topic, January 16 – July 30, 1973. Obtained and translated for NKIDP by Eliza Gheorghe.


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ROK Ministry of Unification and Leon Levy Foundation