‘North tried using 1972 communique to oust Park regime’

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‘North tried using 1972 communique to oust Park regime’

A diplomatic document that was made public yesterday stated that North Korea had tried to use the joint communique agreed upon by both South and North Korea 40 years ago today to isolate the Park Chung Hee government and eventually help the opposition camp seize power.

According to the document titled, “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea [DPRK, or North Korea] Perspectives on Korean Reunification after the July 4th Joint Communique,” which was released by the United States’ Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, “It appears that North Korea initially believed that the North-South dialogue was an effective mechanism to undermine the Park Chung Hee government, and to help the democratic forces in South Korea seize power.”

The two Koreas issued their first Joint Statement on July 4, 1972, presenting three principles of realizing unification: through self-reliance of the people, peace and nonviolence, and great national unity regardless of ideological and social differences.

The communique had also pushed the two countries to agree to stop slandering one another and to begin various exchanges with an aim to ease tensions and solve the issue of unification.

The paper put together by the Woodrow Wilson Center, however, cited a collection of Romanian documents assessed at that time in the 1970s that the North tried to use dialogue to shake up the Park government.

The paper stated that Kim Dong-gyu, secretary of the Workers’ Party of North Korea, visited Romania in March, 1973, and met with Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu and elaborated on the communist regime’s strategy to press the South using the communique that it signed the year before.

“Kim [Dong-gyu] stated that the North Korean peace offensive initiated in 1971 had succeeded in a number of ways, arguing that the campaign had eliminated the unjustifiable and false charges that North Korea was a belligerent country and thus called into question any justification for the continued stationing of U.S. troops in the South,” the document stated. “Furthermore, according to Kim, North Korea had pushed the South Korean government into a state of confusion and panic by isolating the regime both domestically and internationally.”

The North anticipated that a democratic leader would guide South Korea toward peaceful unification with the North, the paper stated, citing Romanian diplomatic documents. The Park administration, however, blocked its opposition camp from taking part in the inter-Korean dialogue and the North then shifted its strategy.

By Lee Eun-joo[angie@joongang.co.kr]
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