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April 23, 1973

Telegram from Pyongyang, No.061.150, Urgent, SECRET

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

To the First Direction, Relations


With respect to inter-Korean relations, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that when important events, reunions, or contacts take place, provocations and sometimes serious incidents resulting in casualties spring up systematically in the demilitarized zone. By infringing on the commitments mutually agreed upon through the Joint Communiqué of July 1972, the situation is growing tense and the smooth development of the inter-Korean dialogue is hindered.


Therefore, on 23 April, at the request of the Americans in the Armistice Commission a session took place at Panmunjeom, where the DPRK was charged with sending a group of spies in South Korea on the night of 17 April (3 people, 2 of whom were shot in the Southern part of the demilitarized zone) and was accused of not accepting to investigate this case jointly.


Although the North Koreans publicly denounced this setting-up, the arguments they invoked were not convincing and categorical enough, which provided the authorities in Seoul and the Americans with plenty of ammunition to condemn the DPRK for “its duplicitous policies, aiming at winning the support of public opinion by charging the South and the Americans [for various things], while in reality being the one committing the provocations and perpetuating a state of tension on the Korean Peninsula.”


In these circumstances, we believe that the second meeting of the South-North Coordinating Committee Secretariat, planned for 24 April in Panmunjeom, will unfold in a tense atmosphere.


Irrespective of its authors, the aforementioned incident, as all the others from previous months, provide supportive arguments for the continued stationing of US troops in South Korea, and reasons for easily combating against the letters adopted at the recent session of the Supreme People’s Assembly addressed to the US Senate and House of Representatives.


Signed: Dumitru Popa



북남 관계와 관련하여 중요한 행사, 재결합 또는 접촉 등이 이루어질 때, 비무장 지대에서 도발 내지는 때때로 사상자를 낳기도 하는 심각한 사건이 체계적으로 발생한다는 사실에 주목할 필요 있음을 밝힌다. 1972년 공동선언문을 통해 상호 합의한 약속에 위배되는 이러한 상황은 점차 심각해지고 있으며 북남 대화의 원활한 발전이 저해되고 있다.


미국 정전위원회의 요청에 따라 4월 23일에 판문점에서 회담이 열렸으며 이 자리에서 4월 17일 간첩단체를 남한에 파견(3명 중 2명은 비무장지대 남쪽에서 사살됨)하고 이 사건에 대한 공동조사에 불응한 조선민주주의인민공화국에 대한 비난이 있었다.


북조선 측에서는 공식적으로 이 회담을 맹렬히 비난하였지만 그들이 내놓은 주장은 설득력이 없었으며 서울의 관료와 미국으로 하여금 남한과 미국을 [다양한 사안으로] 공격하여 대중의 지지를 얻고자 하지만 사실상 한반도의 긴장상황을 조장하고 도발을 자행하는 이중적인 정책을 펴고 있다고 조선민주주의인민공화국을 공격할 구실을 충분히 제공하였다.

이러한 상황에서 우리는 4월 24일 판문점에서 개최되기로 계획된 남북조절위원회 사무국의 2차 회담은 긴장된 분위기 속에서 시작될 것으로 예상한다.


누구의 책임이건 간, 앞서 언급된 사건은 과거와 마찬가지로 미군의 지속적인 남조선 주둔을 지지하는 주장을 나타낼 것이며, 최근 개최된 최고인민회의에서 미 상하원에 보내기로 채택된 서신을 반박하는 근거가 될 것이다.



서명: Dumitru Popa



The Romanians expect tensions to rise in inter-Korean relations after North Korea is accused of sending a group of spies to South Korea. Pyongyang is unable to convincingly deny its direct role in sending the spies and is called duplicitous by Seoul. The report suggests that recent events have acted as fodder for the argument on why US troops should stay on the Korean Peninsula


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