Kim Il Sung:
Talk with Journalists of the
U.S. Newspaper, New York Times

May 26, 1972
(excerpt from
For the Independent Peaceful Reunification of Korea pages 157-172)

  I am sure you have seen for yourselves and sensed how the Korean People feel toward the United States here in our country.
  They do not have good sentiments toward the United States. Our people have a very
strong anti-US feeling. Probably this feeling has offended you Americans.
  It is natural that the Korean people should have ill feeling toward the United States.
  U.S. Imperialism is the aggressor which has invaded our country. No people can have warm feelings toward an aggressor who invades their country, can they?
  The Korean people's anti- U.S. sentiments grew very strong, particularly because they suffered too much damage at the hands of the U.S. imperialists during the Fatherland Liberation War.
  During this war, they suffered tremendous damage because of the U.S. imperialists' barbarous acts of aggression. I do not think there is any Korean who did not sustain a loss in the war. Every Korean suffered a loss in some way or other. If he did not suffer personally, at least his family, relatives, or friends did.
  In Pyongyang, for example, the indiscriminate bombing of the U.S. imperialists left few houses intact. The entire city was reduced to ashes and tens of thousands of people were killed in cold blood. The same was true of Wonsan, Hamhung, and other cities. Even our villages were burned to ashes in the last days of the war.
  Having suffered such severe damage at the hands of the U.S. imperialists, the Korean people cannot have good sentiments towards the United States.
  Even after the armistice the United States continued an unfriendly attitude towards our country.
  The Armistice Agreement stipulated that a political conference of the two sides would be held immediately after the war to settle the Korean question by peaceful means. However, the United States did not abide by this stipulation. As a result, our country is still in a state of cease fire today. No peace agreement has been concluded and there has been no progress in the work of solving the Korean question peacefully. Therefore, I always tell our people that generations are changing, but the target of our struggle remains the same.
  The U.S. authorities have persisted in their aggressive acts against our country in violation of the Armistice Agreement. Even after the Pueblo Incident, the United States continued its aerial reconnaissance of our country.  This places our country in a perpetual state of war.
  As this state of war has continued since the ceasefire, we have been forced to step up building our defense and invest heavily in it. Frankly speaking, this enormous expenditure on defense building has, to a certain extent, slowed down the rise in the living standards of the people. Our people also blame the United States for this.
  Thus, they have strong anti-U.S. feelings because they suffered great damage at the hands of the U.S. imperialists during the Fatherland Liberation War. Moreover, they have ill feeling toward the United States because the U.S. imperialists have been unfriendly towards our country and continued aggressive acts in violation of the Armistice Agreement even in the postwar period.
  The tense situation forces us to continue to step up preparations against war. We make no secret of this. Who can guarantee that the U.S. imperialists will not attack our country again? Neither you nor I, nor anyone else. So we are openly making war preparations in order to defend the country from enemy aggression.
  The most important thing in our war preparations is to teach all our people to hate U.S. imperialism. Otherwise, we will not be able to defeat the U.S. imperialists who boast of their technological superiority.
  Therefore, we are intensifying ideological education, to imbue the people with hatred for U.S. imperialism. I think this is quite a natural and correct thing for us to do. We do not have to stop the anti-U.S. education we have been giving to our people or conceal the fact that we are educating them in anti-U.S. ideas just because you come to our country, do we?
  You must understand our people's ill feeling toward the United States.
  You have just said that you hope this abnormal situation between our country and the United States will improve. So do we. We do not want to have many enemies.
  Now, let me answer the questions you have raised.
  To begin with, I would like to refer to the question of relations between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the United States.
  You asked me what positive measures should be taken to end the abnormal state of affairs between Korea and the United States. In our opinion this is a very simple matter.
  The relations between our country and the United States depends entirely upon the attitude of the U.S. government. If the U.S. government changes its policy towards us, we will do the same towards the United States.
  If the U.S. government wants to improve its relations with our country, it must, first of all, stop interfering in our internal affairs so that the Koreans can settle the question of Korean reunification independently. It is nearly 20 years now since the Armistice Agreement was signed, so why should U.S. troops continue to occupy south Korea under the guise of "United Nations forces?" Some people say that the U.S. troops are staying on in south Korea to protect it because we might "invade the south." This is a lie. We have declared time and again that we have no intention of invading the south. It is high time to put an end to the situation were U.S. troops play policeman in south Korea under the emblem of the "United Nations forces."
  The U.S. government disquiets us not only because it has stationed its armed force in south Korea but because it is helping to revive Japanese militarism. We are not happy about the U.S. assistance in the revive Japanese militarism. We can see from the joint communique of Nixon and Sato of 1969 that the United States is bringing Japanese militarism into south Korea as its agent for aggression against Korea and instigating in it to interfere in our country's internal affairs. Following the announcement of the communique, Sato openly declared that he would interfere in Korea's internal affairs. This is another aspect of the unfriendly attitude of the unfriendly attitude of the U.S. government toward our country.
  On the Korean question in the United Nations, the U.S. government is also taking and unwarranted attitude toward our country. It advocates inviting south Korea to the United Nations unconditionally while attaching conditions to inviting us. It alleges that we do not respect the United Nations Charter, though we have never violated or ignored it. The united States insists that it will allow us to attend the UN General Assembly only if we recognize the unlawful resolutions on the Korean question which were adopted at the United Nations. How can we go to the UN General Assemble under this condition? Furthermore, the United States has been instigating the " United Nations Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea" to give annual reports full of lies and fabrications about our country, thus continuing hostile propaganda against us.
  Because the U.S. government has invariable pursued such an unfriendly policy toward our country, there has been no improvement in Korea-U.S. relations and the reunification of our country had been hampered.
If the United States wants to improve its relations with our country, it must stop interfering in our internal affairs so that the Koreans can reunify their country by themselves, withdraw its troops disguised as "UN forces" and dissolved the "United Nations Commission for the Unification and Rehabilitation of Korea." It must not further the partition of the Korean nation but support its reunion. As long as the United States keeps our country divided, our attitude toward the United States keeps our country divided, our attitude toward the United States will not change. the Korean Peninsula is now cut into two parts. If the U.S. troops get out of south Korea, I think the Koreans will come to terms easily and our people's anti-U.S. feeling will gradually lessen.
When U.S. President Nixon looked at the Great Wall during his visit to China he said that the barriers dividing nations should be pulled down. If the U.S. government wants to put these words into practice, it must begin with Korea. These days Nixon says he is going to improve relations with China as well as with the Soviet Union. Why, then should the United States keep its military bases in south Korea? The United States has argued that it keeps them there to prevent communist expansion. Now that it is going to have good relations with the big socialist countries, we consider that there is no excuse for keeping military bases in south Korea. So the United States must quit south Korea at once, dismantling all its military bases and withdrawing its aggressor army.
  If the United States wants to better its relations with our country, it must also stop helping to revive Japanese militarism and stop bringing it into south Korea. The United States is trying to substitute Japanese militarism for itself in its invasion of south Korea and reduce south Korea to a commodity market and appendage of Japan. This is an unfriendly, hostile act against our people. The U.S. government must discontinue such unfriendly acts against our country.
  If the U.S. government gives up its unfriendly act against our country and stops obstructing our reunification, then there will be no reason why we should b e antagonist to the United States. So we say that the relations between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the United States depends not on us, but entirely on the attitude of the U.S. government. We will closely watch the policy the United States adopts toward our country in the future.
  The U.S. government should improve relations not only with big countries, but with small countries. In fact,       The U.S. government has not yet changed its attitude in its relations with small countries.
  In the joint communique of the People's Republic of China and the United States, the latter declared that it supports the relaxation of tension on the Korean peninsula and contact between north and south Korea. As for what influence the United States will exert on south Korea in this respect, we must wait and see. If the United States does not support the relaxation of tension in Korea and north-south contact in the future, it will mean that it uttered empty words under pressure.
  Our people remember what Nixon said in China. What interest me most is that he said that no barriers should divide the people of the world. We are watching how he is going to put his words into practice.
  You asked me if moves such as an exchange of journalists and cultural interchange to promote mutual understanding and reduce tensions were possible between the two countries even before the U.S. troops are withdrawn from south Korea. I will answer briefly.
  Frankly, we cannot understand what interests Americans to come to our country. We do not think our people would bring back anything interesting if they visited the United States in the present situation.
  We do not mean that we want to shut the door to relations with the United States. But we consider that as long as the fundamental problem between the two countries remains unsolved, an exchange of journalists and cultural interchange would be of little significance.
  I am told you feel uncomfortable in our country. If other Americans come here they will return with the same uncomfortable feeling.
  We are intensifying anti-U.S. education among our younger generation so that they will not forget their enemy. As long as the U.S. government’s hostile policy toward our country remains unchanged, our policy toward the United States will not change either. Therefore, Americans will not get good impression here until the fundamental problem between the two countries is solved. If many Americans come to our country in the future, and go back with uncomfortable feelings, we think such visits will not be beneficial.
  If the U.S. government discards its hostile policy towards our country, our anti-U.S. feelings may be lessened. Only then will visits and interchange between the two countries be fruitful and interesting to both sides.
  Since the U.S. government does not alter its hostile policy toward our country, mutual visits had better be on a limited scope, as at present. We do not think that there is no need at all for our journalists to visit the United States. In our opinion, it is necessary fo them to go there in order to let the American people hear our true voice., because at present you only hear the voice of the south Korean rulers. We welcome visits by American journalists and democratic figures on a limited scale. Such visits and interchange will help promote understanding between the two peoples.
  In the light of our experience in receiving you now, I think it would be a good idea for us to explain to the future American visitors how we are conduction anti-U.S. education among our people before they start going on visits.
  Next I want to refer to a few points concerning Korea's reunification.
You asked me whether it would be possible to deal with the Korean question in the same way as the Viet Nam question was dealt with at the Geneva Conference in 1954. We think we need not deal with the Korean question in such a way.
  The Korean question must be solved by the Koreans themselves on the principle of national self-determination without any foreign interference. Only then can the reunification of our country be achieved peacefully.
  The Soviet Union and China actively support this program for national reunification. The Soviet and Chinese governments have issued statements on many occasions supporting our country's program for peaceful reunification.
  The prerequisite for the independent settlement of the question of Korean reunification without foreign interference is that the U.S. troops must be withdrawn from south Korea. No war will break out in Korea after they are withdrawn.
  When the U.S. troops pull out of south Korea and the people of north and south Korea are united, we can reunify Korea quickly and frustrate the Japanese militarists' maneuvers to invade Korea again. The Korean people can achieve national unity by their own efforts.
  As you know, we are now having contacts with south Korea throu the preliminary talks between the north and sou th Korean Red Cross organizations. Of course, as for the prospects and the results of the talks , we will have to wait and see. But we think that if we Koreans sit down at a conference table, we can find ways for removing the distrust and misunderstanding between the north and the south and attaining national unity.
  The north and south Koreans are cold to each other, and distrust and misunderstand each other in many respects because they have no opportunity to sit down together in one place.
  We think distrust and misunderstanding exist between the north and south Koreans on a number of questions.
  We believe that the south Korean rulers may invade the northen half of the Republic with the support of the United States and Japanese militarist forces. The south Korean rulers labor under the misunderstand that we might attack south Korea. They are also raising "anti-communist" clamors, asserting that we are trying to "communize" south Korea. Due to such distrust and misunderstanding, no progress has yet been made on the question of Korean reunification.
  We believe that if we Koreans sit down together, we will be able to remove distrust and misunderstanding and find common denominators and on this basis, achieve national unity.
  These day the south Korean rulers are clamoring for the independent reunification of the country, nation , though in words only, “self-help”, “self-reliance”, “self-defense”. If we interpret this favorably, we can see some similarity with the idea of independence, self-reliance, and self-defence which we advocate.
  If we find and develop these common denominators one by one, it will be possible to reach an agreement on achieving national unity.
  The difference in social systems in the north and south must not be made an obstacle to the promotion of national unity and the attainments of reunification.
  At present, some foreign journalists say there are two opposite poles in Korea- north Korea’s communist system and south Korea’s capitalist system- and these two poles cannot be integrated. Once the two poles
touch, they say, war will break out again in Korea.
We do not regard south Korea as a capitalist society in the true sense of the word. There are no big monopoly capitalists in south Korea, only a few comprador capitalists. Of course, we are against comprador capitalists. We oppose them because they obstruct the development of the national economy. But we are not against national capitalists and small and medium entrepreneurs. We say that south Korean society is no more than a society which is just starting to take the road of capitalism, or is inclined to capitalism, or is being influenced by capitalism, ore believes in capitalism, or something like that. This does not mean that there is no difference in the social systems in the north and the south.
  It is true that there are now difference in the ideas and beliefs between the north and the south. But we think we must transcend these differences for the sake of national unity. We have no intention of imposing our socialist system on south Korea. Unless its present rulers try to force us to replace our socialist system with another, there is no reason why we cannot achieve national unity.
  If the north and the south establish the principle of each not imposing its social system on the other, then there is no need to fight each other with arms. If neither side is forced to give up its political beliefs, is there any reason for the people of one and the same nation to fight?
  It is possible that a country may have different political systems and that people with different beliefs may live together in one country. What political system should be established in south Korea is a matter for the south Korea people themselves to decide. So we consider that even after the country is reunified the present social systems in the north and the south may continue as they are, and the people who have different beliefs may live together in Korea. What is needed here is mutual trust and respect.
  We always maintain that our homeland should be reunified independently and peacefully without foreign interference. Furthermore, we hold that the unity of the entire nation should be achieved under conditions in which both sides trust and respect each other, despite the different social systems in the north and the south.
In a speech on August 6 last year, we pointed out that we were ready to have contacts even with the Democratic Republican Party, the ruling party of south Korea. This stems from our desire to create mutual respect.
  If the north and the south join hands and make tireless efforts, we will be able to eliminate mutual misunderstand and distrust gradually, and achieve the reunification of the country independently on a democratic basis. Our country cannot be reunified if outside forces meddle in the Korean question. Foreigners cannot rid our nation of distrust and misunderstanding, That is why we oppose interference of any outside force in the Korean question.
  We believe that if there is no outside interference in the Korean question and foreign countries give up obstructionist machinations, the reunification of Korea will definitely be attained the way we are advocating, though it may take time.
  You said you want to know what practical measures we are taking to bring about the independent, peaceful reunification of the country. I will outline them briefly.
  We are calling for main exchange and mutual visit s and trade and economic co-operation as well between the north and the south.
  As for mutual visits of personages we think it also desirable for our deputies to the Supreme People’s Assembly and the “ national assemblymen” of south Korea to visit each other. If “national assemblymen” of south Korea come to the northern half of the Republic and our deputies to the Supreme People’s Assembly go to south Korea and if they sit down at one table it will be a good thing for the reunification of our homeland. It is buy no means a bad thing, We want contacts not only with south Korean “national assemblymen” but also with a broad spectrum of political and public figures in south Korea. In other words, we hold that all the political parties and social organizations of north and south Korea should get together in a political consultative conference and exchange wide-ranging views on the question of national reunification.
  Furthermore, we have proposed that, if it is impossible to reunify the country at once, a confederation be set up. This means forming a supreme national council with representatives of the north and south Korean governments, mainly for consulting and co-ordinating on matters concerning the national interests of Korea, while maintaining the present different political systems in north and south Korea as they are for the time being,
  We have also more than once proposed economic intercourse between the north and the south, proceeding from the immediate interests of the nation. If economic co-operation materializes and we give south Korea what we have in sufficiency and receive what it has in plenty, the economy of both parts will develop more rapidly.
  We have also proposed cultural and scientific exchanges between the north and the south.
In addition, we maintain that a peace agreement should be concluded between the north and the south stipulating that each side refrains from the use of arms against the other and that the numerical strength of the armed forces of the two sides be reduced after the withdraw of all foreign troops from south Korea. The present arms race between the north and the south is having a considerable effect on the living sanders of the people.
  We are doing all we can to remove the tension and bring about contact and exchange beween the north and the south. True, if mutual visits are made, capitalist influence may be brought into the northern half of the Republic. But we are not in the least afraid of this. We keep our doors open so that south Koreans can visit the northern half of the Republic at any time. It is not we but the south Korean rulers who are keeping the door closed. Everything will be settled easiluy once the south Korean authorities open their door.
  But the south Korean rulers are very much afraid to do this. Having declared a “state of emergency” under the pretext of a fictitious “ threat of aggression from the north,” they are playing all sorts of tricks while the preliminary talks are going on between the north and the south Korean Red Cross organizations. They are ruthlessly suppressing those south Koreans who desire reunification, They are even prohibiting “ national assemblymen” of the Democratic Republican Party from talking with their New Democratic Party colleagues in the papeete national assembly. The south Korean rulers are now raising an “anti-communist” clamor, holding “ anti-communist” rallies and “ meetings for the annihilation of communism and against espionage activities” in all parts of south Korea.
  We have no intention of invading south Korea, nor do we want to impose our socialist system on south Korea. Nevertheless, the south Korean rulers have declared a “ state of emergency” under the pretext of a “ threat of aggression from the north” and are intensifying their fascist repression of the south Korean people and clamoring for “ reunification through the annihilation of communism.” This is not an attitude helpful to national reunification, Their hullabaloo is designed not to bring about a close relationship between the north and the south but to estrange them further. It is intended to prevent the country from being reunified. By “ reunification through annihilation of communism,” the south Korean rulers mean to achieve reunification after wiping out the Communists in Korea. In the final analysis, this means that they oppose reunification and want to perpetuate the partition, We do not know who is the author of this racket in south Korea. But we think it betrays their weakness.
  We will continue our patient efforts to bring about contacts and dialogue between the north and the south.
  We are present gravely concerned about south Korea’s economic subjection to Japan. If the south Korean rulers keep the door between the north and the south closed, Japanese capital will penetrate south Korea, and the latter will become completely subjugated to Japan economically.
  We do not forget the history of Japanese imperialists’ invasion of our country. They began worming their way into Korean in 1894 under the pretext of prtecting Japanese residents in Korea. From then on our country began falling into the status of a Japanese colony.
  Japanese militarism revived under the wing of U.S. imperialism is now scheming to invade Korea again. We read an article in the Japanese magazine World Weekly which quoted Japanese militarist leaders as saying that Korea should not be reunified for at least a quarter of a century. This shows that the Japanese militarists are watching for a chance to invade Korea again.
  We have to heighten our vigilance against the Japanese militarists. We are fully informing all our people, and especially the younger generation, on the history of Japanese militarist aggression in our country so that they will not forget it but keep sharp vigilance against Japanese militarism.
  Our country has not yet been reunified, but remains divided into north and south because of the reactionary maneuvers of south Korea rulers and the obstructionist activities of outside forces.
  Therefore, we think that all the north and south Korean people must united firmly and struggle actively against the outside forces that hamper the reunification of our country.
  You asked me about the relations between our country and Japan. I will touch on this briefly now.
  The improvement of relations between our country and Japan depends on the attitude the Japanese government takes. Good-neighbor relations have not been established up to this date solely because the Japanese government have followed a hostile policy toward our country. The successive cabinets of the Japanese government, from Yoshida to Sato, including those of Kishi and Ikeda, have adopted an unfriendly attitude and a hostile policy towards our country.
  If the Japanese government gives up its hostile policy toward our country and wants to establish friendly relations with us, we are fully ready to respond.
  However, as long as the Japanese government pursues a hostile policy and takes an unfriendly attitude toward our country, we do not want to improve relation between the two countries by resorting to sycophant diplomacy. The smaller a country is, the great self-respect its people must have. If the peoples of small countries do not even have self-respect, the cannot survive. We do not want to go to Heaven by turning our right cheek after we have been hit on the left. We have no thought of throwing our self-respect away.
  You asked me what is the best gift I could give to our people. It is the reunification of the country.
The Korean people are one people of the same blood. But they are divided because their country is not yet reunified. This is our greatest grief.
  At present, because of an artificial barrier in our country many people live separated from their families and relatives for a long time, unable to meet each other, write letters or hear about each other’s fate, alive or dead. The artificial barrier which causes this tragic state of affairs must be pulled down as soon as possible and our homeland reunified without fail.
  Once our country is reunified, our people will lead as good a life as others, and will live peacefully with the different peoples of the world according to the principles of equality and mutual respect.
  From ancient times, the Korea people have been industrious and resourceful. Our people went through suffering and were long subjugated to national humiliation, oppression and exploitation, and to aggression by foreign invaders. So, of our people in north and south Korea join efforts and strive to build a new society, we will be able to live as well as others and our country will become a rich, powerful, independent and sovereign state.
  Our country has a fairly large population and abundant natural resources. We have trained a large number of competent cadres of our own. Immediately after liberation we had few able technicians. The Japanese imperialists would not pass technology on to the Koreans and even prevented them from learning it. They were so adamant about preventing Koreans from acquiring technical knowledge that before liberation there were only four Korean locomotive drivers. They allowed only Japanese to be locomotive drivers and at best, let Koreans stokers.. In order not to repeat this better experience, we devoted great efforts after liberation to training our own cadres, As a result, we have half a million technicians and specialists today. On the basis of the successes already achieved in training cadres, we are planning to increase their number to one-million during the Six-Year Plan.
  As you see, we have a big population, rich natural resources and a huge army of thechincians, So when the country is reunified, we can build a rich and strong country and guarantee our people affluence in a short time.
  I will give a brief answer to your question on what was the most difficult or our struggles.
  We have had so many difficult struggle that I cannot tell you about them all here and now.
  To my mind, one of hte most difficult was the struggle to rise up our of the debris after the war.
  In the three-year war, every town and village was razed to the ground and every industrial enterprise reduced to ashes. When the war ended, we had to build towns, villages and factories on the ruins where nothing was left and rapidly stabilize the people’s living conditions. But we were able to overcome these difficulties and trials and win a great victory in economic construction becasye we were firmly united with the masses of the people.
  We have basically overcome the difficulties in socialist construction. Now the lives of our people are stable. It is true that their living standards are not yet very high. But no one in our country is hungry or in rags or wandering about without a job. Our people all work, receive free eductaion, and free medical care. This is a great victory won by our people in socialist construction.
  We have laid the basis for rapidly developing the national economy and raising people’s living standards in the future.
  As I have already mentioned, we have a huge arm of competent cadres, we have built the foundations of a powerful heavy industry centered around the engineering industry and constructed a large number of modern light industrial factories. In particular, we have developed a strong, independent industry which is supplied by our raw materials. We have laid the basis for the further development of stockbreeding.
  All this firmly guarantees the more rapid development of our economy and a bigger rise in our people’s standard of living.
  Thank you for your attention. Now let me conclude me answers to your questions.
  We oppose the reactionary policies of the U.S. government but we do not oppose the American people.    We want to have many good friends in the United States.
Korean students honor the 55th anniversary of the DPRK with a gymnastics performance. The Juche Idea of Comrade Kim Il Sung,  has helped lead the way to a fully democratic, prosperous, and independant state. Comrade Kim Il Sung will always be loved by the world's people for ralling the masses and defeating the US imperialists. By safeguarding the nation,  GREAT LEADER KIM IL SUNG, set an example for all to follow. Around the world, people study both the Juche Idea of President Kim Il Sung, and the Songun Politics of Marshal Kim Jong Il .