KIM IL SUNG
LET US ACHIEVE THE GREAT UNITY OF OUR NATION
Talk to the Senior Officials of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland and the Members of the North Side’s Headquarters of the Pan-National Alliance for the Country’s Reunification
August 1, 1991
The Pan-National Rally for the Peace and Reunification of the Fatherland was held last year on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of national liberation, and this year the second Pan-National Rally is to be held on August 15, too. I think it is a good thing that the Pan-National Rally and the various joint national festivals for reunification are held on the memorable occasion of the anniversary of national liberation. We must work hard to make the forthcoming events a success and a major occasion for achieving great national unity and hastening the reunification of the country.
Achieving the reunification of our country means linking the nation’s severed blood vessels, bringing about national harmony and gaining national independence across the country. In other words, it concerns the fate of our fellow-countrymen; it is a matter vital to our nation.
As is well known, our country was divided not because of contradictions within our nation; its division was imposed upon it exclusively by foreign forces. After the end of the Second World War the Korean question was dealt with to suit the interests of the great powers, contrary to our nation’s desire and will to be independent, and the United States occupied south Korea. As a result, Korea was divided into north and south. It is because of continued interference and obstruction by foreign forces that Korea has not yet achieved her reunification.
In the half a century since our country was divided not a day has passed without our nation’s misfortunes and sufferings weighing on my mind, and without my thinking how the country can be reunified. We must not leave the task of national reunification to the younger generation. We must reunify the country in our lifetime. National reunification is the supreme desire of the Korean people and there is no more pressing task for them than to reunify their country.
The reunification of our country must be achieved independently and in a peaceful way, and this calls on us to achieve the great unity of the whole nation. The realization of the independent and peaceful reunification of the country is inconceivable without great national unity. Great national unity is a fundamental precondition for the achievement of the independent and peaceful reunification of our country, as well as the most essential aspect of it. The first and foremost task in achieving national reunification is to achieve the great unity of our nation.
Whatever movement we may join, we can emerge victorious only when we strengthen the driving force and increase its role. This is an essential revolutionary truth which has been our philosophy and faith throughout the long revolutionary struggle.
The driving force for national reunification is the entire Korean nation. The reunification of the country is our nation’s cause of independence, and it can be achieved by the efforts of our nation alone. Every Korean person is responsible for national reunification and must bear his or her responsibility and play his or her allotted role in the struggle to reunify the country. If our nation, as the driving force for national reunification, is to fulfil its responsibility and role, it must be united firmly as one. The strength of the driving force is precisely the strength of its unity. The decisive guarantee for the independent and peaceful reunification of the country lies in the achievement of the unity of the whole nation and in strengthening the driving force for reunification.
All the Korean people must unite closely under the banner of great national unity, in the spirit of patriotism and national independence.
A nation is a solid community which has been formed and developed historically, and it is a unit of social life. Historically, people have lived with their country and nation as a unit and have shaped their destiny through a combined effort. The question of a nation essentially means the question of achieving and defending its independence. Independence is the lifeblood of the people as well as of their country and nation. If a man is deprived of his independence, he is as good as dead; likewise, if a nation is deprived of its independence, its existence and development is inconceivable.
It is only when the independence of a country and a nation is achieved that the independence of individuals can be realized; no one can escape the fate of slavery if his country and nation is enslaved, for the life of an individual as a member of the nation exists in the life of his or her country and nation. It is precisely for this reason that, although a nation consists of different classes and strata, people love their country, value their nation’s independence and fight in unity for the independence of their country and nation. People love their fatherland and value the independence of their nation. These feelings are common to every member of a nation.
Originally, nationalism came about as a progressive idea promoting national interests. Under the banner of nationalism, the newly-emergent bourgeoisie took the lead in the nationalist movement, yet nationalism could not be regarded as an ideology of the capitalist class from the outset. During the period of the bourgeois nationalist movement against feudalism the interests of the popular masses were basically identical with those of the newly-emergent bourgeoisie and, accordingly, nationalism reflected the common interests of the nation. Subsequently, as capitalism developed and the bourgeoisie became the reactionary ruling class, nationalism was reduced to the ideological means for the capitalist class to defend its interests. Bourgeois nationalism conflicts with genuine nationalism which truly promotes the interests of the nation. For idlers, who may be called the parasites of the nation, to pose as nationalists is nothing but a deception. Only he who does some work, mental or physical, which is beneficial to the nation, can be a genuine nationalist.
In our country, the land of a homogeneous nation, genuine nationalism means precisely patriotism. Our nation, which has inherited the same blood generation after generation and built up a brilliant national culture with the same language on the same territory, is a nation with a strong spirit of patriotism and independence. Our people have always loved their fatherland ardently and fought strongly to defend the independence of their country and nation. This is a proud tradition of our nation.
My father put forward the idea of Jiwon (aim high) and educated me in patriotism and in the spirit of national independence. So I set out on the road of struggle with a resolution to dedicate my whole life to saving the country and nation. My revolutionary activities began with the struggle for national liberation and in the course of the struggle to establish the identity of the nation, the identity of the revolution, I have evolved the Juche idea, the guiding idea of our revolution. I have been fighting all my life for the independence, sovereignty and prosperity of our nation, for the independence of the masses of the people. I am fighting for the independence not only of our people but also of people throughout the world, and for the abolition of exploitation and oppression of man by man not only in our country but also throughout the world. Just as it is inconceivable for a person who does not love his parents and brothers to love his country and nation, so it is unthinkable for a person who is indifferent to the destiny of his nation to be loyal to the world revolution. As I always say, only a genuine patriot can be a true internationalist who is loyal to the world revolution. I can say that, in this sense, I am a communist and patriot as well as an internationalist.
At the present stage of historical development, when the destiny of the popular masses is being shaped with the country and nation as the basic unit, the whole nation must firmly establish the identity of the nation and fight in unity for its common interests and prosperity. We must not only achieve national reunification on the basis of great national unity but also, after the country is reunified, build an ideal society by relying on the united efforts of the entire nation so that all the people enjoy equally unbounded happiness on this land.
A nation must regard its independence as its lifeblood, advocate and realize its independence by united effort and achieve its common prosperity. I can say that this is our Juche view on the nation.
We have firmly adhered to the principle of always believing in and relying on the combined strength of the people both in the struggle against imperialism and in the struggle for the building of socialism. We have always given top priority to national interests and relied on the combined strength of the people in the struggle. We can say that this is the secret of the victory we have achieved in the revolution and construction.
We emerged victorious from the anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle for national liberation because the guerrillas and the people forged ties of kinship and all the anti-Japanese patriotic forces fought in close unity. During the anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle we brought together patriotic people from all walks of life into the anti-Japanese national united front and fought Japanese imperialism with the united strength of the nation. The Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland, formed in 1936, was an anti-Japanese national united front comprising broad sections of patriotic people who opposed Japanese imperialism and aspired to national independence. This association united all the anti-Japanese patriotic forces from all walks of life including communists, nationalists, workers, peasants, intellectuals, young people and students, as well as conscientious national capitalists and religious men. We established the tradition of national unity in the course of waging the anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle, relying on the broad-based anti-Japanese national united front.
In the struggle to build a new society after national liberation, too, we channelled our efforts firstly into achieving great national unity. In the speech I addressed to the people after national liberation, I called upon all the people who loved their country and nation and democracy to unite as one and make a positive contribution to nation-building, those with strength giving their strength, those with knowledge contributing their knowledge and those with money offering their money. We have pushed forward dynamically with the building of a democratic new state and with socialist construction, relying on the combined strength of all the people. Our socialist construction aims at enabling all our people to lead happy and worthwhile lives in a society free from exploitation and oppression. The socialist society we are building is socialism centred on the popular masses. Socialism centred on the popular masses means a genuine society for the people where all the people are the masters of the country and everything in society serves the popular masses. We need not build socialism which does not serve the popular masses, and we cannot build socialism centred on the popular masses without uniting the popular masses.
The aim of the reunification of our nation is to realize the independence of our nation, to achieve the common development and prosperity of the nation and to ensure that all the Korean people lead happy and worthy lives in one reunified land. It is natural, therefore, that all the people should combine their will and rally as one in the struggle for national reunification, and this is fully possible.
The Joint Conference of the Representatives of Political Parties and Social Organizations of North and South Korea was held in Pyongyang in 1948. We called this conference to discuss the pressing save-the-nation measures and national reunification. The conference was attended by representatives of almost all the political parties and social organizations of south Korea, except Syngman Rhee’s party. Kim Ku, the leader of the “Korean Independence Party”, too, attended the conference. In pre-liberation years when he was in the “Provisional Government in Shanghai” Kim Ku had regarded communists as his enemies. But he attended the conference having accepted our just proposal to meet and have a heart-to-heart discussion on important questions concerning the destiny of the nation as members of the same nation, and he eventually took the road of alliance and coalition with us communists. He had no clear idea of what a genuine communist was, but he was a patriot. He made a fine speech at the north-south joint conference and after his return to south Korea he fought for national unity and reunification before being assassinated by the Yankees and their stooges. The historic April north-south joint conference served as clear proof that despite differences in ideologies and ideals, political views and religious beliefs all people can unite in the struggle for the common cause of the nation.
If the whole nation fights in concert, drawing on the traditions and experience of national unity built up in the course of the struggle to realize our nation’s independence, we shall not fail to achieve national reunification, the supreme task of the nation.
The concert and unity of the whole nation means the national reunification we desire. What is the most important in national reunification is not the procedures or methods but the achievement of the genuine harmony and unity of the whole nation. If all Korean people in the north, south and overseas unite their minds and, on this basis, attain great national unity the most important problem in achieving national reunification will have been solved and then other problems can be resolved easily.
In recent years signal progress has been made in our efforts to bring about national unity. Last year, after the August 15 Pan-National Rally, the Pan-National Reunification Concert was held; also the north-south reunification football matches and art festival took place. This year the north and the south formed unified teams and participated jointly in the World Table Tennis Championships and the World Youth Football Championship. This was a result of our people’s desire for reunification that was stronger than ever before and the intensified trend towards national concert and unity. This delighted all the brethren in the north, south and abroad and led them to gain national pride and confidence. If the minds of all our compatriots are united as one, the great unity of the whole nation will be achieved and the country reunified. It is in this sense, I think, that the Rev. Mun Ik Hwan in south Korea said that our nation had been reunified now, that the reunification was in the perfect tense.
It is also for the sake of genuine national concert and reunification that we have advanced proposals on national reunification through confederation based on one nation, one state, two systems and two governments. Since there exist two different ideologies and systems in the north and south of our country, the confederation formula is the only way to achieve national harmony and reunification. In the light of the situation prevailing in our country it is wrong for either side to attempt to attain reunification by conquering the other. An ideology and system should be chosen by the people themselves of their own accord, not through coercion from outsiders. If one side were to try to impose its ideology and system on the other, it would be impossible to realize national reunification; it would rather aggravate the confrontation within our nation and cause further national calamity. The ideological and institutional differences within our nation should be gradually overcome not by coercive methods but by strengthening national unity based on the common interests of the nation. The most essential interests of our nation lie in the nation’s reunification free from any foreign domination and interference. In spite of the ideological and institutional differences within our nation we, as a single people, can bring about reunification and work together for the common prosperity of the nation.
Whether they are in the north, south or abroad, whether they are workers, farmers, intellectuals, young people, students, politicians, businessmen, religious men, or soldiers, Koreans must all unite and strive to achieve the reunification of their country, the common cause of the nation. Just as our people did in the days of building a new country, compatriots from all strata in the north, south and abroad must join hands in the cause of national reunification; those who have strength should contribute their strength, those who have knowledge their knowledge and those who have money their money.
The workers, farmers and intellectuals form the major force of the nation. If they cooperate and unite, while maintaining their own characteristics, they can form a mighty, independent driving force of the nation and achieve reunification. Workers and farmers should join hands with intellectuals, while intellectuals should cast in their lot with workers and farmers and thereby fulfil their role as the motive force in the struggle for the country’s reunification. It is unfair to underestimate the role of intellectuals or to adopt a narrow-minded attitude towards them. When founding the Party, we defined intellectuals, along with workers and farmers, as one of its components. Our Party’s emblem consists of a hammer, a sickle and a writing brush. These symbolize the workers, farmers, and intellectuals who make up our Party. When we began to build a new society immediately after liberation, we did not leave out the intellectuals, arguing that they had served Japanese imperialism. We believed in their patriotism and spirit of national independence and generously brought them to our side. We regarded the intellectuals scattered across the country as the nation’s treasure and searched for them one by one. We positively encouraged them to play an important role in the building of a new country. Our intellectuals trusted and followed our Party and have thrown in their lot with it. They dedicated all their efforts and talents to the building of the new democratic Korea. They also fought courageously in the Fatherland Liberation War against US imperialist aggression, and after the war they worked for socialist revolution and construction.
Today the south Korean intellectuals, too, are fighting well for the reunification of the country. The young people and students of south Korea are ardently patriotic and have a strong spirit of independence against the US. They are playing a central, leading role in the struggle to make south Korean society independent and democratic and to reunify the nation. The south Korean young people and students who are struggling heroically, dedicating their precious youth without hesitation for independence, democracy and national reunification are the pride of our nation.
In addition to the workers, peasants and intellectuals, there are many people in south Korea from different backgrounds who live in different conditions. We must not neglect them. We must achieve national unity on the principle of welcoming everyone without hesitation, who is not a traitor to the nation.
It is very important to have a correct understanding of religions and to work properly with religious believers. People believe in a religion because they take their sufferings and misfortunes in this world as predestined, and they yearn for happiness in the next world. Therefore, we cannot call them bad. What is bad is the anti-popular politics that misleads people about the situation and reactionary rulers who misuse religions, making them an instrument for paralysing the people’s consciousness of independence and ensuring that the people obey their rule. Progressive religious believers wish the people to love one another and live in harmony. The south Korean men of religion are opposed to the foreign invaders who keep our nation artificially divided and who suppress the champions of reunification at the point of the bayonet. We must be highly appreciative of the devoted struggle of the south Korean men of religion for national reunification and unite with them.
It is mortifying that in south Korea young people, the sons and daughters of the nation, serve in the “ROK army” under the command of Americans who use it as a tool for their neo-colonialist domination and for the implementation of their policy of keeping our nation divided. We must awaken the officers and men of the “ROK army” to the anti-national and anti-popular nature of the imperialists and their minions so that they stand firmly by their own nation and people and cooperate with their parents and brothers in the struggle for independence, democracy and national reunification.
As I always say, reunification means patriotism and division means treason. Those Koreans who desire national reunification and strive for it are patriots, whereas those who are opposed to reunification and accept division in league with foreign forces are traitors. By this criterion we must unite with all those who support reunification and advance with them in the same ranks. Even one who may have once been opposed to reunification and have committed crimes against the country and the nation, if he repents of his mistake and takes part in the struggle for patriotism and reunification, must be allowed to start with a clean slate and join hands with us.
There are many people who once led a dishonourable life in the eyes of the nation but have broken with their past and taken the patriotic road of national unity and national reunification. Mr. Choe Tok Sin was one of them. As you all know, he served as a corps commander of the “ROK army” and “foreign minister” in south Korea. While he was pursuing the road of pro-US, anti-communism at important military and political posts, he gradually began to feel disillusioned about the traitorous and anti-reunification acts of the ruling authorities and took refuge in a foreign country with the aim of living an honest life for the nation. While in exile he engaged in patriotic activities for bringing about the independence and democracy of south Korean society and reunifying the country. He became clearly aware of which was the patriotic way to follow during many visits to the homeland. He was moved by the fact that our Republic, which is independent, self-sufficient and self-reliant in defence, is displaying the pride and dignity of the Korean nation. He also sympathized with our consistent, just policy of embracing and joining hands with all those who love their country and nation, regardless of differences in political views, ideas and religions without asking about their past, and the policy of great national unity. He said he had found a paradise on Earth in the homeland, the land of bliss which he, as a nationalist and Chondoist, had aspired to and sought all his life. With a determination to dedicate the rest of his life to the just cause of the country and the nation, he applied for permanent residence in the homeland. Although he had opposed us in the past, we positively supported his decision and agreed to join hands with him for the sake of great national unity and the reunification of the country since he was resolved to break with the past and make a fresh start for the sake of the country and the nation. After being taken into the embrace of the homeland, he worked with devotion to the last moment of his life as the Chairman of the Central Committee of the Chondoist Chongu Party and the Vice-Chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland; he did so for the prosperity and development of the country, for great national unity and for the country’s reunification. He passed away, failing to see the day of national reunification to which he had looked forward. But in his last years he joined the ranks of the national reunification movement and marched forward with his fellow countrymen. As a result, he came to enjoy immortality as a patriotic martyr who is held in affection by the people, and who helped his compatriots at home and abroad to understand the real meaning of national concert and great unity.
For the realization of great national unity compatriots from all social strata in the north, south and abroad must place their common national interests above all else and subordinate everything to national reunification, transcending differences in ideas, social systems and religious beliefs. We must regard this as a fundamental principle in achieving great national unity and firmly adhere to this principle.
Our national community which has been formed and consolidated over a history of five thousand years is greater than transient differences in social systems, ideals and ideologies which have come about owing to national division; the common national desire to achieve reunification as a homogeneous nation is incomparably more important than the interests of individual social classes and social strata. Although the defence of the ideals and ideologies of individual classes and strata and the realization of their interests are important, it is even more important to realize the common cause of the nation. Classes and strata form part of the nation. Therefore, no class and no stratum can realize its own interests apart from the common national interests. Only when there is a nation can there be classes, and only when national interests are guaranteed can the interests of the classes be ensured.
Today when the independence of our nation is being trampled upon by foreign forces, no class or stratum, if it belongs to the Korean nation, should hamper the achievement of national reunification, the common cause of our nation, by putting its interests to the fore. There should be no practice of placing class interests ahead of national interests, or of setting the struggle to satisfy class demands against the struggle for national reunification, swayed by minor interests and prejudices. Moreover, for fellow countrymen to reject or repress one another on the strength of government authority because of differences in political views, isms and assertions or for them to be hostile to one another because of differences in ideas and social systems—these are fundamentally contrary to the principle of great national unity jointly agreed upon between north and south, and such acts are intolerable for the nation. Our people will never be able to achieve their reunification if the two sides reject and are hostile towards each other, putting differences to the fore instead of uniting on their common ground as a single nation.
If the great unity of the nation is to be achieved, contacts and visits should be widely encouraged among the fellow countrymen in the north, south and abroad and dialogue be promoted actively among them.
If the whole nation is to act in concert and pool its strength for the common purpose, an atmosphere of understanding and confidence should be created within the nation. Because our country has been divided and the north and the south have been alienated from each other for a long time, some people misunderstand their fellow countrymen, believing them to be their enemy, and some people hesitate to go hand in hand with their fellow countrymen because of a lack of confidence, although they wish to see national unity. In order to remove such misunderstanding and distrust within the nation and realize national concert and unity, it is necessary to encourage free visits, contacts and talks.
What is important in realizing free travel and contact and wide-ranging dialogue is to pull down the barrier of division and remove all political and legal obstacles to it. We have already made proposals for removing the barrier of division, ensuring free travel and opening all doors between north and south and have been making untiring efforts to realize them. The point in question is that the south Korean authorities should pull down the barrier of division and remove all obstacles that hamper free travel, contact and dialogue among the fellow countrymen in the north, south and abroad. Today the “National Security Law” of south Korea is a major obstacle to free travel, contact and dialogue between north and south. In south Korea those who have been to the north or who have discussed reunification in foreign lands with people from the north are punished under the “National Security Law”. The Rev. Mun Ik Hwan, who is over 70, a young girl student Rim Su Gyong and other visitors to the north, as well as a large number of those working for reunification, are currently imprisoned under this law. If this wicked law is not repealed, there can be neither free travel and contact nor free dialogue between north and south. That is why the “National Security Law” must be abolished as soon as possible.
In order to achieve great national unity we must strengthen nationwide solidarity in the struggle for national reunification.
Great national unity cannot be achieved only by words. It can be achieved and consolidated in the course of developing joint action by uniting minds and efforts in the struggle to reunify the country. All political parties, organizations and compatriots from all walks of life in the north, south and abroad must support one another and take concerted action in the struggle for the country’s reunification.
The cardinal task here is to check and frustrate the schemes of the forces which are opposed to reunification and working to keep the nation divided for ever and provoke another war. In order to isolate and weaken these forces and defeat their divisive moves, the compatriots in the north, south and abroad must develop an active joint struggle in various forms. The tens of thousands of US troops and more than 1,000 nuclear weapons of various types deployed in south Korea are the root cause of tension on the Korean peninsula and pose the threat of a nuclear war. We must have the US troops and nuclear weapons withdrawn from south Korea as soon as possible and thus remove the danger of a nuclear war that threatens the existence of our nation; thus we shall provide a firm guarantee for peace on the Korean peninsula. All our compatriots in the north, south and abroad must launch a nationwide struggle to compel the US to withdraw its troops and nuclear weapons from south Korea and make the Korean peninsula a nuclear-free, peace zone.
In order to achieve great national unity all the political parties, organizations and compatriots of all strata in the north, south and abroad that are struggling for the reunification of the country must ally themselves with one another organizationally.
It is only when all our compatriots who adhere to the patriotic cause of reunification are organized into an allied force that solid national unity can be achieved and unity of action and unanimity ensured in the struggle for the country’s reunification.
For the organized unity of the whole nation, there must be an organization that can ensure the voluntary association of our compatriots of all strata in the north, south and abroad. I believe that the Pan-National Alliance for the Country’s Reunification which was inaugurated in accordance with the decision of the Pan-National Rally last year can be such an organization. The Pan-National Alliance for the Country’s Reunification was formed through the joint efforts of the patriotic organizations and public figures of all strata in the north, south and abroad that aspire to the independent and peaceful reunification of the country. It is a patriotic organization for reunification, whose mission is to reunify the country on the three principles of independence, peaceful reunification and great national unity, and which represents the common will of Koreans in the north, south and overseas. It has the important duty and responsibility of achieving great national unity and hastening the reunification of the country. It will have to work hard, conducting a variety of activities, to expand and strengthen its ranks steadily among our compatriots and to hasten national reunification.
Many obstacles and difficulties still lie in the way of the reunification of our country, but we are looking forward with confidence to the bright future of national reunification.
Our nation’s move towards reunification is now stronger than ever before. Our compatriots in the north, south and abroad are working hard with a firm determination to reunify the country without fail in the 1990s. Nobody can break our people’s will to reunify their country, and no force can ever check our nation’s strong move towards national reunification. Through the united efforts of the whole nation, our people will overcome the obstacles and difficulties in their way to national reunification and reunify their country, come what may.
Once the country is reunified, our nation will be a dignified and strong nation and our country will emerge on the world stage as an independent and sovereign country with more than seventy million people, a brilliant national culture and a powerful economy. Our nation is industrious and resourceful, and our country is a beautiful land of three thousand ri in which it is good to live. When the whole nation is united as one, and when the country is reunified, there will be nothing for us to fear or envy. Our people will proudly display the resourcefulness and greatness of the Korean nation and nobody will dare to encroach upon our sovereignty. If the whole nation combines its efforts and talents and develops the economy and culture after the country’s reunification, our country will be more prosperous and civilized, and it will make a more effective contribution to the common cause of the people in Asia and the rest of the world for peace and prosperity.
For the Korean people to devote themselves to national reunification is most honourable and worthwhile. Those who have contributed to the noble cause of national reunification will be held in love and respect by the nation and will be highly appreciated by the reunified nation.
I believe that you comrades, who are at the forefront of the struggle for national reunification, will carry out the honourable duty entrusted to you by the country and the nation.