KIM IL SUNG
ON THE NEED FOR THE KOREANS IN THE UNITED STATES
TO UNITE AND STEP UP THE MOVEMENT FOR NATIONAL REUNIFICATION
Talk to the Koreans from the United States
March 11, 1993
Today I am very glad to meet you, my compatriots, from the United States.
You have said that you are very grateful to me for my meeting you like this in spite of the extremely tense situation, but I think it is natural for me to meet you who are struggling for national reunification. Although the situation in the country is tense due to the adventurous “Team Spirit 93” joint military exercise staged by the US imperialists and south Korean rulers, I have taken time off to meet you because you are visiting us with a determination to fight resolutely against the enemy’s manoeuvres to provoke a new war and for national reunification.
I think you fully understand our position because you have had talks with my officials and have studied the Juche idea since you came to the motherland. So I shall talk briefly about the question of national reunification.
The most important task of our people today is to put an end to the split of the nation and reunify the country. Only when the country is reunified can our people get rid of the calamities and sufferings caused by division and live in happiness on the reunified land.
In order to reunify the country we must realize great national unity. My hope is to reunify the country through great national unity. Ever since the country was divided, I have maintained great national unity as a major principle of national reunification and tirelessly struggled for its realization.
When I met a high-ranking official of south Korea who visited Pyongyang to participate in the high-level north-south political negotiations many years ago, I advanced the three principles of independence, peaceful reunification and great national unity. The three principles of national reunification are aimed at reunifying the country independently, free from the interference of foreign forces, by peaceful means through dialogue and negotiations without recourse to the method of war, and on the principle of promoting great unity of the whole nation, regardless of the difference in ideology, system and religious belief. Of the three principles of national reunification, great national unity is the most important. Great national unity is the prerequisite for the implementation of the principle of independence and for facilitating the realization of the principle of peaceful reunification.
If the entire nation achieves great unity, we can reunify the country through confederation.
I have already taken various opportunities to propose the idea of reunifying the country in the form of confederation on the basis of one nation, one state, two systems and two governments. This proposal is the most rational, fairest and above board in reunifying the country by transcending the difference in ideology, system and religious belief.
As you know, there are now different ideologies and systems in the north and the south. The only way to reunify the north and the south with different ideologies and systems into a single state is to enforce confederation on the basis of recognizing each other’s ideology and system.
We have no intention to force socialism on south Korea, nor is there any need to do so. Probably you know from your experience of life in south Korea that foreign capital has made inroads into south Korea from the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Canada and so on. The United States and Western capitalist powers have completely seized the mainstay of the south Korean economy by their capital inroads. Although the south Korean industry is alleged to be developed, it in fact is not worth mentioning. According to a recent report of a south Korean newspaper, only 4 per cent of south Korean industry is indigenous. Take television sets for example. It is said that only the frames are made in south Korea and most of the machine parts are imported and assembled. The south Korean economy is dependent and export-orientated, and its mainstay is in the hands of the major powers. So if these countries put pressure to bear upon it, it will be stifled overnight. The United States and other capitalist countries that have invested their capital in south Korea are afraid of losing their economic concessions if socialism is established in south Korea. That is why these countries are opposed to the reunification of our country. We do not wish to make many more countries hostile towards us by establishing socialism in south Korea. We intend to reunify the country in the form of confederation and ensure the economic concessions of the United States, Japan and other countries that have made investments in south Korea.
We are against an introduction of capitalism in the northern half of Korea. In the north, the socialist system of independence, self-sufficiency and self-reliant defence, the requirements of the Juche idea, has been solidly established, and the people live equally in happiness free from exploitation and oppression. We do not wish to turn this good socialist system into capitalism. Why should we change the socialist society, which is liked by the people, into a capitalist society with increasing imbalance between the rich and the poor as in south Korea? Even if we were to undergo some difficulty in economic construction, we will preserve the independent national economy of socialism. We will never invite foreign capital to make the people the victim of foreign monopolies.
We will leave the problem of unifying different systems in the north and the south to the next generation. We believe that this problem will be slowly and smoothly solved by the next generation. However, the task of establishing the reunified state of confederation regardless of the difference in ideology and system must not be delayed any longer.
If we reunify the country through confederation and manage the unified federal state properly, the south Korean economy will become gradually free from dependence on foreign capital, and our independent national economy will grow stronger.
The unified federal state must be an independent neutral state.
The reunification of our country is not aimed at becoming a major power or a satellite of any other country. Japan and other large countries around our country have long been engaged in a scramble to make our country their satellite. To make matters worse, the feudal rulers of the Ri dynasty, devoid of independence, worshipped and depended on large countries and ended in being robbed of their country by the Japanese imperialists in the past. One of the best ways for the unified federal state to avoid being a satellite of a large country is to become an independent neutral state. For this reason, when I made the proposal for national reunification through confederation, I said that the unified federal state must be an independent neutral state. I always say this when I talk to foreigners.
Once the former Chancellor of Austria paid a visit to me. He had been unable to walk because of some disease and had received treatment for years from foreign doctors he had invited, but their treatment had not much effect. So he had invited Koryo doctors from our country. Koryo medicine is the traditional remedy of our country. On receiving the report from our ambassador in Austria that the ex-chancellor had invited our Koryo doctors, I sent able Koryo doctors to him, and they had completely cured his disease. The ex-chancellor, who recovered his health thanks to our doctors, said that he could find no way of repaying his indebtedness and that he should meet President Kim Il Sung and at least express his gratitude to me. So he came to visit me.
In my talk to him, I told him that it was splendid that his country had become a neutral state and that it was best for a country surrounded by large countries to pursue a neutral policy. If our country is reunified through confederation and becomes an independent neutral state, our large neighbours will be unable to make it their satellite.
In order to realize great national unity all our compatriots in the north, south and abroad must unite solidly under the banner of national reunification, regardless of the difference in their ideology, system and religious belief.
Many of the overseas compatriots have different political views and religions, to say nothing of the different political views and religious beliefs now existing between north and south. However, this can never be an obstacle to great national unity. If all our compatriots in the north, south and abroad value the nation’s common interests and subordinate everything to the cause of national reunification, transcending the difference in their ideology, system and religion, they will be able to realize great national unity.
During the anti-Japanese revolution, I rallied a broad section of religious believers, not to speak of workers and peasants, under the banner of national liberation. When we were waging an armed struggle in the area around Mt. Paektu, I decided to rally the believers in Chondoism in the northern region of Korea behind the anti-Japanese national united front and put great efforts into effecting a united front with them. I made this decision because Chondoism that succeeded Tonghak was a national religion and its believers were strongly anti-Japanese. At that time, Choe Rin, the leader of the central Chondoist organization, was a turncoat who preached to the believers that they should achieve Korea’s independence by the method of autonomy with Japan’s approval and build an “earthly paradise”. It was preposterous to introduce autonomy with Japan’s approval. So a large number of Chondoists came out against Choe Rin and in consequence Chondoism became divided into two factions.
I brought Pak In Jin15, the leader of Chondoists in South Ham gyong Province, round to our point of view in order to rally the believers under the banner of national liberation. Having read the Ten-Point Programme of the Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland, Pak In Jin came out in active support of us and mobilized a large number of Chondoists in strong support of our armed struggle. In those years we maintained close relations with the believers not only in the Phungsan and Samsu areas but also in the Changsong and Sakju areas.
In the post-liberation years, too, I enlisted religious believers in building the new country. An important matter in our work with religious people was to rid them of the idea of worshipping the United States and implant the idea of national independence in their minds. So in my interviews with the Rev. Kang Ryang Uk16 and other Christians, I told them to believe in a Korean God, not a Western God. In my interviews with Buddhists, I told them to believe in Korean Shakyamuni. Still now I say this to religious people whenever I meet them. When I met the Rev. Kim Song Rak, my compatriot from the United States, I told him the same thing. Because we worked hard with religious people, they got rid of the idea of worshipping the United States and acquired the spirit of national independence and joined hands with us in building the new society.
We are now trying as far as possible to unite with the south Korean authorities, to say nothing of the south Korean people in general. In my New Year Address this year, therefore, I said that I would meet anyone and discuss the problem of national reunification frankly with him and make efforts with him to reunify the country without asking his past records if he should take a sincere attitude to settle the issue of national reunification from the standpoint of national independence. In his recent “Presidential” inaugural speech, the south Korean ruler expressed his readiness to meet President Kim Il Sung, saying that no allied country would be better than the Korean nation. He said he would meet me at any place and at any time, be it at the foot of Mt. Halla on a warm spring day or on Lake Chon on the top of Mt. Paektu on a summer day to exchange views frankly. We have noted his statement. Of course, there is no need to harbour illusions about him, but his word that he would meet me is good. If he truly wants to meet me, I am ready to meet him. However, whether I should meet him right now needs further study. Although he has become the “President”, he has no real power because he can control neither the military nor the “Agency for National Security Planning”. In addition, the standpoint and attitude with which he will take part in the north-south summit need serious consideration.
Our standpoint on national reunification is invariable. On many occasions I have already made many proposals for national reunification, particularly the idea of confederation. All my proposals are aimed at reunifying the country, and none of them will obstruct reunification. The solution of the question depends on the standpoint and attitude of the south Korean ruler.
The US imperialists and the south Korean authorities are now conducting the risky “Team Spirit 93” joint military exercise against us by mobilizing more than 200,000 troops and modern lethal weapons and equipment. We strongly oppose this aggressive joint military exercise, but we do not denounce the present ruler of south Korea. The arrangement for reopening the “Team Spirit 93” joint military exercise with the US imperialists was made by the former south Korean ruler, not the present south Korean ruler. The former south Korean ruler accepted the “Agreement on Reconciliation, Nonaggression, Cooperation and Exchange between the North and the South” and the “Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” and announced them, promising to build a house at Panmunjom for the reunion of the scattered families. However, he made the arrangement for reopening the aggressive “Team Spirit 93” joint military exercise by challenging the agreements.
The enemy says that the joint military exercise is a defence exercise rather than for an aggressive war against us, but that is a lie. It is an aggressive war exercise thoroughly against us. The enemy threatens us by staging the large-scale joint military exercise, but we are not afraid of it in the least. The present south Korean ruler says nothing in support of the “Team Spirit 93” joint military exercise. We will continue to watch his attitude in the future.
Our compatriots in the United States must naturally struggle hard for national reunification because they also belong to the Korean nation.
To develop a powerful struggle for national reunification, our compatriots in the United States must solidly unite. There are now over one million Koreans in the United States, and that is a greater number than that of Koreans in Japan. If the Koreans in the United States closely unite, they will be able to make a great contribution to hastening national reunification. If over one million Koreans in that country demand that the US government support the proposal for national reunification through confederation, they can produce good results.
To achieve solid unity, our compatriots in the United States must rise above all differences in their political views and religious beliefs. True, there may be difference in their political views and religious beliefs. But if people with different political views and religious beliefs are solidly united, they can produce great strength just as five fingers with different lengths join to make a fist. That is why all Koreans in the United States must closely unite under the banner of national reunification, regardless of difference in their political views and religious beliefs. They must, on no account, form sects or create antagonism or feuds among themselves. If they do such things, they will be unable to realize great national unity and will also be denounced by foreigners.
Let me tell you of an incident I witnessed during my days at the Yuwen Middle School in Jilin. In those days Jilin used to be a favourite resort of Korean communists and nationalists. In my middle-school days I met Kim Chan, Sin Il Yong, An Kwang Chon and other leaders of the Tuesday group, Seoul-Shanghai group and M-L group and the leaders of Jongui-bu, Chamui-bu and Sinmin-bu. At that time the leaders of these organizations were having a meeting at Fuxingtai Rice Mill in Jilin to amalgamate the three organizations. One day I dropped in on them on my way back from school. They were in a futile argument, insisting only on their own assertions. So I prepared a play entitled, “Three Pretenders”17, to stimulate them and got it performed for them. At first, they were interested in the play but, knowing that it was a satire on them, they became enraged. However, as they knew that I was a son of Kim Hyong Jik, who organized the Korean National Association, they dared not touch me. I told the angry men that they should do something as soon as possible, instead of scolding me, and asked why they should quarrel day and night in a foreign land without winning the independence of the country. Later, they organized Kukmin-bu by merging the three organizations. The drama, “Three Pretenders” has been adapted as a revolutionary play under the direction of Comrade Kim Jong Il and is now being staged, exciting deep interest among the audience. I say this to emphasize that our compatriots in the United States should refrain from sectarian acts and unite on the principle of subordinating everything to the cause of national reunification.
The United States is keeping its armed forces in south Korea on the excuse of deterring us from a fictitious threat, but its real aim is to contain China and Japan. The United States is not afraid of Russia because the Soviet Union has perished. The Koreans in the United States must work properly with the American people to give them a correct understanding of our country. If they do so, the United States may pull out its armed forces from south Korea. If it withdraws its forces from south Korea, it may bring about friendship with us.
We will make every effort to reunify the country and preserve the socialism of our own style. I have been working for the revolution until now by cherishing the slogan “Aim High” that my father taught me. My father established schools in many places while fighting for national independence, and put up the motto “Aim High” on their walls. He also told me to aim high in driving out the Japanese imperialists and winning the independence of the country. Referring to the need for the Koreans to rectify their two shortcomings, he said that lack of unity was their first defect. To achieve the independence of the country, he said, all the people must unite, but many people were forming various parties and groups in their own way such as a three-man party, a five-man group and so on. Their second defect was to do things on the spur of the moment. He warned me not to fight for the revolution bubbling in enthusiasm for a while and then losing heart. Bearing his words in mind, I organized the Down-with-Imperialism Union in 1926 and ever since I have been fighting for the Korean revolution consistently for nearly 70 years. In future, too, I will devote all my efforts to accomplishing the Korean revolution adhering to the slogan “Aim High”.
I thank you for your promise to work hard to spread the Juche idea in the United States.
Some people still take socialism in our country for the same socialism in the Soviet Union or in the Eastern European countries. Socialism in our country differs from the ones in those countries. It was chosen by our people in accordance with their own conviction and has been built by their own efforts. It is people-centred socialism that has embodied the Juche idea in itself. We have solved all the problems arising in socialist construction in a creative way to suit our situation. This can be understood from the single fact that the emblem of our Party bears a brush that symbolizes intellectuals, side by side with a hammer and a sickle that symbolize workers and peasants.
As a consequence of colonial rule by the Japanese imperialists, there were very few intellectuals in our country immediately after liberation. Before liberation there were only a few colleges but no university in north Korea. The Japanese imperialists did not admit even to primary school the Koreans that refused to change their names in Japanese fashion. So the children of Koreans with a strong national spirit had no access to education. In our country immediately after liberation there were some graduates of the college of law but only a dozen people who had received higher technological education.
With resolve to find a solution to the problem of the shortage of intellectuals on our own, we established Kim Il Sung University. When we decided to set up the university, some people doubted the utility of the project, asking how we could do it when the country was in a difficult situation. However, we did not waver in the least. In order to make up for the shortage of teachers, we sent for intellectuals even from south Korea. Many of the old doctors now in Kim Il Sung University came from south Korea at that time.
In subsequent years, we have established other universities in many parts of the country and produced a large number of intellectuals. We have now over 1.6 million intellectuals. The intellectuals, who have studied in Kim Il Sung University and other universities in our country, are playing major roles in all fields of the revolution and construction. Comrade Kim Jong Il, too, graduated from Kim Il Sung University and is giving efficient leadership to our revolution.
We intend to develop all members of society into becoming intellectuals in the future by ensuring that they acquire the knowledge of university graduates. Then, our country will be the most civilized in the world, and our people will be the most civilized nation. At present, there are no beggars, no opium addicts and no drunkards. That is why the Rev. Kim Song Rak, a Korean in the United States, said to me on his visit to his motherland that President Kim Il Sung had built a paradise on this land.
You have said that you were deeply impressed by my sense of obligation to my comrades in the revolution while reading my reminiscences. I cannot forget my comrades who laid down their lives in the struggle for national liberation and for the cause of socialism and communism. From here at the Kumsusan Assembly Hall I can have a good view of Jujak Peak on Mt. Taesong where there is the Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery. Whenever I miss and feel sorrow for my fallen comrades, I cast my eyes from here upon the Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery on Mt. Taesong.
Not all the anti-Japanese revolutionary martyrs were buried in the cemetery on Mt. Taesong. So many people fell in the fight for national liberation and for socialism and communism that it was impossible to bury them all in the Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery. So we could only bury there some of the top commanders and those who had worked in important positions; we have set up their busts in front of their graves.
In the Revolutionary Martyrs Cemetery there is the bust of Comrade Kim Pong Sok, my most beloved orderly. He died in battle on August 14, 1945, the day before the liberation of the country. He participated in the operation to liberate the country and on his way back from his liaison mission he was so hungry that he dropped in on a person to get something to eat. He might have returned from his mission enduring his hunger as he used to do, but on that specific occasion he probably thought that there was no need to put up with his hunger with the prospect of liberating the country very soon. So the must have asked for something to eat at some house. Unfortunately, however, the master of the house was a stooge of the Japanese imperialists. As soon as Kim Pong Sok left, the man informed the Japanese imperialists. While crossing the Tuman River, Kim Pong Sok was shot by the pursuing enemy. As he was hit in the middle of the stream, his body was not discovered.
I thank you for your compliment that my reminiscences have a worldwide impact and give you much help in your activity. I am now writing Volume 4 of the reminiscences and I intend to finish my plan of writing them before I grow older.
I hope you will visit the motherland frequently in the future.