It is wrongly assumed by some that there were good or close relations between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and countries like the Soviet Union , Poland , German Democratic Republic , Hungary etc . Some people think that the DPRK received a lot of aid from these countries . This viewpoint is sometimes linked to a wider misunderstanding held by many on the Left that the DPRK was the creation of the USSR or China or even both . Some people do not understand that the DPRK was its own creation , not the creation of another country .
Of course the Workers Party of Korea (WPK ) and the DPRK always argued for unity in the international communist movement and the socialist camp and against counter-productive splits and schisms . However this does not mean there was a rosy relationship between the DPRK and some other countries , far from it .
Recently I was alerted to the fact that a former correspondent of the PAP news agency of Poland was making hostile remarks about People’s Korea . This person had been a reporter in the DPRK during the period when Poland was the People’s Republic of Poland . Also a veteran friend of People’s Korea from a European country told me how he visited the DPRK in the early 1970s travelling via Moscow . He had to get a Soviet visa both ways . On the way back the Soviet officials issuing the Visa asked him about his visit to the DPRK . He told them about it . They replied ‘ you know in our country we used to have a problem like in Korea with Stalin , now we have not got it . In Korea it is much worse than when Stalin was in power here ‘ and they offered him a free trip to the USSR .
Both these cases highlight the fact that although there were state to state relations and party to party relations between the DPRK and the socialist countries of East Europe there were marked differences in policy and sometimes hidden tensions .This fact is neglected by those who wrongly paint the DPRK as being the same as the East European revisionist countries .
In fact People’s Korea and the Workers Party Party of Korea strongly opposed modern revisionism but from an independent position . President KIM IL SUNG said that “"In 1955, therefore, our Party set forth the definite policy of establishing Juche, and has been persistently urging an energetic ideological struggle to carry it through ever since. The year 1955 marked a turning point in our Party's consistent struggle against dogmatism. It was also at that time, in fact, that we started our struggle against modern revisionism that had emerged within the socialist camp. Our struggle against dogmatism was thus linked up with the struggle against modern revisionism".
Comrade KIM IL SUNG in the early 1960s ,said that :
"The imperialists and their servants, the revisionists, are now spreading revisionism in opposition to Marxism-Leninism and the communist movement. . . . It has made and is making inroads into our country too, and the anti-Party groups have exported it for their own ends. . . . To reject our Party's leadership means precisely to deny the revolution and capitulate to capitalism. Therefore it is necessary not only to fight against the revisionists who reject Party leadership, but also to relentlessly combat all the unsettling elements that provide good soil for revisionism".
( KIM IL SUNG' On Juche in Our Revolution', p. 213-14).
Speaking to soldiers of the 109th Army of the KPA on the 25th August 1960, Comrade KIM IL SUNG defined revisionism in this way ;
"Revisionists refashion Marxism-Leninism. They laud themselves as cleverer Marxist-Leninists than Marx or Lenin. Certain countries have this tendency. Some people insist we must peacefully co-exist with the Yankees. How can we do so without opposing US imperialism?"
(KIM IL SUNG 'On Juche in Our Revolution', p. 225).
In 1966 he stated that ‘"Modern revisionism revises Marxism-Leninism and emasculates its revolutionary quintessence under the pretext of a 'changed situation' and 'creative development'. It rejects class struggle and the dictatorship of the proletariat; it preaches class collaboration and gives up fighting imperialism. Moreover, modern revisionism spread illusions about imperialism and in every way obstructed the revolutionary struggle of the peoples for social and national liberation".
(KIM IL SUNG' On Juche in Our Revolution', Volume 1: p. 531).
The DPRK press published articles such as ‘ Let Us Defend the Socialist Camp' and ‘ Hold high the revolutionary banner of national liberation’ which criticized modern revisionism .
Naturally the revisionists in the Soviet Union and elsewhere were not happy with the independent anti-revisionist stand of the DPRK and the Workers’ Party of Korea . In August 1956 the Soviet revisionists and big power chauvinists tried to overthrow the leadership of the Workers Party of Korea headed by the great leader President KIM IL SUNG . The WPK purged itself of revisionists .
In 1962 the USSR imposed their own de-facto sanctions against the DPRK by cutting off economic and military cooperation with the DPRK .
In January 1963 the fraternal delegate of the Workers Party of Korea to the 6th Congress of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany was prevented from addressing the congress .
The Bangladeshi author M Jahangir Khan in his book ‘ Global Farmy Songun Internationale ‘ recounts how the USSR disapproved of the Asian Economic Seminar held in Pyongyang , DPRK in 1964 prompting ‘Pravda ‘ , the daily paper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union , to attack the DPRK publicly mentioning it by name in August . In September 1964 the WPK daily paper Rodong Sinmun responded to the attack in Pravda saying “ Why is Pravda so malignant and angry at the success of the Pyongyang economic seminar ? It is because Pravda is displeased with the resolute anti-imperialist ,anti -colonialist struggle of the Asian and African people ,the spirit of self-reliance surging among them and the ever-strengthening militant unity of the people of the regions . However the truth cannot be covered . The slander will remain long as slander ‘. ( Ever Lighting Beacon p30 in Global Farmy Songun Internationale by M Jahanghir Khan ).
In the 1970s the Soviet revisionists put economic pressure on the DPRK Some sources claim that the USSR drastically increased the price of crude oil sold to the DPRK . In order to counter the pressure of the revisionists , comrade KIM JONG IL put forward the militant revolutionary slogan ‘ Let Us Live Our Own Way ‘ in December 1978 . The DPRK increased self-reliance .
With the onset of the counter-revolutionary perestroika in the USSR , the Soviet revisionists again increased economic pressure on the DPRK . President KIM IL SUNG responded by saying in January 1987 "Modern revisionism which has appeared in the international communist movement is also creating a lot of difficulties for our revolution. On the pretext of 'reforming' and 'reorganising' socialism, the modern revisionists are following the road to capitalism and abandoning internationalist principles. It is, therefore, difficult for us to expect from them cooperation based on internationalism in the building of socialism. What is worse, they are applying economic pressure on us because we do not follow their wrong, revisionist policy”.
One by one the revisionist countries betrayed the DPRK by recognising the south Korean fascist puppet regime . The first to do so was Hungary . The DPRK denounced this as an ‘intolerable act of betrayal ‘ ‘ . Later Poland and Yugoslavia established relations with the south Korean puppets . In 1990 the traitor Gorbachov met the south Korean puppet dictator Roh Tae Woo . In September 1990 the Soviet revisionists recognised south Korea . The DPRK ‘s ‘Rodong Sinmun ‘ on the 5th of October 1990 published an article titled ‘Diplomatic relations bought and sold with dollars” which stated ‘When the establishment of ‘diplomatic relations’ with south Korea by the Soviet Union is viewed from another angle, no matter what their subjective intentions may be, it, in the final analysis, cannot be construed otherwise than openly joining the United States in its basic strategy aimed at freezing the division of Korea into ‘two Koreas,’ isolating us internationally and guiding us to ‘opening’ and thus overthrowing the socialist system in our country’.
Thus the DPRK always maintained independence and Juche in its relations with the USSR and the East European socialist countries . It pursued a line of uniting while struggling and struggling while uniting .
Dr Dermot Hudson
Chairman British Group for the Study of the Juche Idea
Chairman KFA UK
Chairman Association for the Study of Songun Politics UK .