KIM IL SUNG
LET THE WOMEN IN THE NORTH AND THE SOUTH
HASTEN THE REUNIFICATION OF THE
COUNTRY THROUGH UNITED EFFORTS
Talk to the Members of the Delegation from the South
and Overseas Korean Women Who Participated in
the Third Pyongyang Seminar on “Peace in Asia
and the Role of Women”
September 6, 1992
I express my thanks for your coming all the way to visit us. I am very glad to meet you.
I congratulate you on the great success you achieved in the Third Pyongyang Seminar on “Peace in Asia and the Role of Women”.
In order to reunify the country, all Koreans in the north, south and abroad must realize great unity before anything else.
I have emphasized on many an occasion that our nation must achieve great unity to reunify the country. When I met delegates from south Korea, I said that national reunification must be achieved through great national unity above all else. I am sure that the country will be reunified if the entire Korean nation achieved great national unity irrespective of differences in ideology, social system, political view and religious belief.
For great national unity, it is necessary to hold frequent meetings of various types. The fact that the women’s delegation from south Korea has participated in the current Third Pyongyang Seminar on “Peace in Asia and the Role of Women” alone shows that the women in the north and the south, half the population of Korea, are uniting in their efforts to push one of the two wheels of reunification. This is quite laudable. It can be said to be a great success made by women on the way to national reunification that you have come to Pyongyang this time. If women in the north and the south hold frequent meetings—women in the south visiting the north and women in the north visiting the south—they will get acquainted with each other and feel close to each other. This will contribute to national unity and hastening national reunification.
Availing myself of this opportunity, I would like to ask you to convey my warm greetings to women of all social levels in south Korea.
You say that on your current visit to Pyongyang you were impressed by its magnificent construction and its being free from pollution. From olden times it has been called one of Korea’s eight beautiful places for its beautiful scenery. However, everything in the city was destroyed during the Fatherland Liberation War. Our people have rebuilt it more beautifully than before. Now its citizens are living happily in their beautiful city.
Pyongyang is free from pollution. When building the city we built no factories which would pollute the air. We built only textile mills or machine-building factories that would not cause air pollution and built chemical and metal factories which would pollute the air away from the city. The purpose of construction is to make the people well-off and in good health, so why should we build factories and harm their health? We always saw to it that large factories, particularly the factories which would cause air pollution, were not built in areas which are densely populated.
We also pay deep attention to prevent air from being polluted by the exhaust fumes from vehicles. We refrain individuals from having their own cars as far as possible. The exhaust from many vehicles in the city would pollute the air. Therefore, we do not encourage private cars; instead, we encourage people to widely use trolley buses, buses and underground electric trains. We also encourage them to ride bicycles.
You say it is quite good that the air is clear and the water is clean in Pyongyang, and you are right. Foreigners visiting our country also say that Pyongyang is excellent because it is free from pollution.
You say you have visited Mt. Kumgang this time; what you have enjoyed are only some parts of Mt. Kumgang, including Outer-Kumgang and Lagoon Samil. You must not have seen Sea-Kumgang and some other beautiful sights on Mt. Kumgang. You can tour Sea-Kumgang only by boat. Chongsokjong and other strange rocks and unique scenery in Sea-Kumgang are so peculiar and beautiful that a person viewing the scenery feels as if he were a supernatural being portrayed in the old legends. Lagoon Samil is also beautiful. It is a freshwater lake. It is rare to find such a large freshwater lake by the sea. The water in Mt. Kumgang is clear and clean. It is free from pollution and bacteria, so it is alright even if one drinks it as it is.
We are planning to draw up a wonderful plan for Mt. Kumgang. Many foreigners who have visited the mountain say they would invest in this. South Korean industrialists who have been to the mountain are of the same opinion. There is no need to build anything large on the mountain, except for a few more hotels for visitors. There is no cable car on the mountain and, if one is built, it will be good for helping old people who are over sixty enjoy the scenery. People under that age can enjoy it while climbing the mountain on foot, but those who are over that age will find it difficult to do this. I was told that one of you who is nearly 80 climbed as far as the Kuryong Falls on foot; it is admirable. Our young people go to Mt. Kumgang by forming mountaineering groups and see its sights while camping on the mountain. Building a cable car on the mountain would be convenient for visitors, but at the same time it would damage the natural environment. We are doing our best to preserve the beautiful natural scenery in the country. We are going to define how to lay out Mt. Kumgang after discussing the matter widely with people.
I advise you to visit Mt. Myohyang and Mt. Paektu on your next visit. On Mt. Myohyang there is a place where Tangun is said to have exercised archery and it has many legendary tales. The mountain is famous as Abbot Sosan formed the volunteer army there with monks and roused them to the fight to repulse the Japanese aggressors when they invaded our country. Relics and legends that reflect the wisdom of our people are a valuable cultural heritage of our nation.
I think there is no mountain in Korea more magnificent than Mt. Paektu. If anyone visits Mt. Paektu, he will feel before anything else that it is magnificent and our country is great.
Afraid that its natural environment would be damaged, I saw to it that the Asian Winter Games to be held in Samjiyon were cancelled. A large sum of money would be needed to host the games, but a greater problem is that the natural environment of Mt. Paektu would be damaged. Lake Samji is the number one scenic spot in our country, and if ski-runs and the like were built there to host the games, the scenery of Mt. Paektu would be damaged. The games would end after this skiing, but it would be difficult to rehabilitate the natural environment once it is damaged.
It is better to visit Mt. Paektu in summer. Even in autumn the weather on that mountain becomes very changeable and in winter it is hard to climb as the temperature drops to more than 40 degrees below zero and it snows much. I was told that a Japanese woman mountaineer climbed the mountain, and with much difficulty, on her visit to our country in the winter of 1987.
You say that you want to link Mt. Paektu and Mt. Halla through the efforts of women by holding the women’s meetings on these mountains in turn. This is a good idea; I agree with you.
You say that the women in the northern half of Korea enjoy a many benefits from the state; you are right.
We have built kindergartens and nurseries everywhere—in factories and in the countryside—at the state expense so as to enable women to work to their hearts’ content in workplaces. So women with children bring them up without feeling any inconvenience and work happily at their workplaces. Women feel very happy because many kindergartens and nurseries have been built.
We also have weekly nurseries and kindergartens which take care of the children whose parents are at work. In most cases the parents who travel a lot on business leave their children to their care. Women journalists, artistes, scientists and other women who make frequent business trips send their children there as it is difficult for them to leave their children to the care of nurseries and kindergartens and bring them back every day. However, most women leave their children to the care of day nurseries in daytime and bring them back in the evening as it is interesting to raise them by themselves.
You say that you have visited the Pyongyang Maternity Hospital. Our women are very pleased with its construction. It is because, when they are admitted to the hospital and give birth with the help of doctors, they can have an easy delivery and no accident takes place during the delivery. The Pyongyang Maternity Hospital is now working well.
You, the head of the delegation from the south, say you met the Rev. Mun Ik Hwan before leaving for Pyongyang and he asked you to convey his greetings to me; I am grateful for this.
I instructed our Premier to ask the “prime minister” of the south for the release of the Rev. Mun Ik Hwan from prison whenever the high-level talks are held between the north and the south. However, the south Korean authorities have not yet set him free. Is there any need to imprison him, saying that his visit to Pyongyang at the age of 70 was an “act benefitting the enemy”? Even if the charge were true, it is too much to imprison the old man for years, I think. If he was to be imprisoned on charges of violating the law, he could be detained in his house as he is an old man. I wish him to be released soon.
I met at a banquet the girl student Rim Su Gyong who participated in the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students which was held in Pyongyang as a delegate of Jondaehyop. When she was returning to the south, I asked our officials to persuade her not to go back immediately but when the situation permitted, as she would surely be arrested by the south Korean authorities if she returned soon. Even though our officials tried to persuade her, she said that she would surely return even if it meant sacrificing her life. At that time, Father Mun Kyu Hyon came here and proposed that he would take her, saying that nothing would happen if he went to south Korea because he believed in Catholicism. Before entering the south Rim Su Gyong and Father Mun Kyu Hyon read their letter to the Pope and prayed; then they crossed the Demarcation Line in Panmunjom. As soon as they crossed the line, they were arrested. Therefore, neither the Pope nor Catholicism was helpful to them. Rim Su Gyong is now behind bars, being sentenced to five years, on the charge of visiting Pyongyang to take part in the WFYS. It is too much to inflict a punishment of five years on a young girl student on the charge of visiting Pyongyang.
The south Korean “president” said good words for example in the “July 7 Declaration”, but he has imprisoned a 70-year-old Reverend and a young girl student on the unjustifiable charge of visiting Pyongyang and is arresting and imprisoning at random a large number of youths and students and men of conscience. How can we think well of him? If the Rev. Mun Ik Hwan and the girl student Rim Su Gyong visited Pyongyang without being allowed by the “government”, they could imprison them for a few months or a year as a token punishment, but it is too much that they have imprisoned them for several years. Today I am not saying this to vilify the south Korean authorities in front of you, but because they went too far.
You express your thanks that you are returning after achieving greater success than you expected; I am grateful for your saying so.
The head of our delegation to the seminar asked me to meet the delegation from the south and have a souvenier photograph taken with them as they wanted to meet me. I said to her: It is the first time for a south Korean women’s delegation to visit the north; if I meet them and say good-bye to them after exchanging with them a few words of greetings, they will feel sorry; it will be a courtesy and ethical to have lunch with them. So I have arranged a luncheon party for you.
I propose a toast to national reunification, to the unity of the whole nation, to the successful holding of the Pyongyang Seminar on “Peace in Asia and the Role of Women”, and to your health.
This party has been arranged for you, so please help yourselves.
Frozen-potato noodles are a speciality of Ryanggang Province. Mostly the people in Hyesan in Ryanggang Province and the areas around Mt. Paektu enjoy this food. When the Korean compatriots resident in the United States came to the fatherland, I once had them served with these noodles. At that time they wrote in their notebooks how to make it. On their next visit I asked them if they had made and eaten the noodles; they answered that they made them with potatoes frozen in the refrigerator and the food was not so enjoyable. The noodles made with potatoes frozen in the refrigerator are not palatable. Luise Rinser, a German woman writer, visits our country every year. When she was served the noodles, I asked her if German people knew how to make such noodles and she answered they did not. The noodles taste good when they are made with potatoes frozen in the earth.
When we were waging armed struggle against Japan to liberate the country, the Japanese imperialists tightened their control over grain to prevent people from sending it to the guerrillas. However, in order to send grain to the guerrillas our peasants removed only creepers from potato fields to make it look as if they had harvested potatoes; then they informed the guerrillas about it. Guerrillas in turn went to the fields and dug out potatoes and the next spring they dug out the potatoes they had failed to dig out the year before. The potatoes dug out in the spring were soft and soggy. We dried them and ground them to powder before making noodles with them. The people in Ryanggang Province know well how to make noodles with frozen potatoes.
I was told that Son In Sil in the south planned to come to the north with you, but she failed; I wish you to convey my greetings to her on your return.
Present in this party are women from the north and the south, and I cannot distinguish who is from the south and who is from the north. It is because all of you are Koreans.
Those who have divided our country are foreigners. Even now they are obstructing our country from being reunified and attempting to divide our nation into two for ever. It is because they can rule our nation as they want only when it is divided into two.
We must reunify the country through the united efforts of the whole nation.
I believe that you will make great efforts for national reunification.