On 7 September, Friends of Korea celebrated the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 1948 with speeches and a cultural programme in central London. The meeting was chaired by Harpal Brar (CPGB-ML), Chairman of the Co-ordinating Committee, with speeches from Michael Chant (RCPB-ML) and John McLeod (SLP). Comrade Jang Song Chol, Third Secretary of the DPRK Embassy in London, was the guest of honour, and we reproduce his excellent and informative speech below.
Comrade Jang, on behalf of the Ambassador and the Embassy staff, brought sincere thanks to all progressive people in Britain expressing solidarity and support to the Korean people in these difficult times.
He spoke of the achievements of the DPRK since the founding of the republic on 9 September 1948, and emphasised that, while facing direct US hostility, as well as US-backed provocations from south Korea, the DPRK had not only made very big advances, but was also standing firmly on its own feet, maintaining its integrity.
He explained the situation surrounding the so-called nuclear issue in the DPRK, emphasising that when making deals with the imperialists, it is necessary to be very careful and always be alert. The DPRK has made two deals, he said.
In 1994, the DPRK made the deal usually referred to as the ‘light water reactor’ deal. Under the terms of that agreement, the DPRK promised to freeze its nuclear programme in return for the supply by the US of two light water reactors capable of generating 2,000mw of electricity, accompanied by the supply of 500,000 tonnes of fuel annually. The agreement collapsed because of the failure of the US to keep its side of the bargain; eight years later, it still had not provided the reactors that were promised.
In 2006, the DPRK made a deal through the six-party talks, and again, although the US government agreed to take specific actions, it did not do so. For example, the US had agreed to remove the DPRK from the notorious ‘states sponsoring terror’ list, but this never happened.
Following the elections in south Korea last December, President Lee Myung Bak assumed power. He stated that “the last ten years have been lost”, which meant that he denied everything that had been achieved in the direction of Korean reunification under the previous governments of Presidents Kim Dae Jung and Roh Moo Hyun.
So far, President Lee has always followed the US stance rather than working in the interests of national reunification. In these circumstances, our party, government and people will always hold firmly to our cause and never abandon our revolutionary principles, Comrade Jang said.
The US should have learnt from the 60-year history of the DPRK that it is not amenable to intimidation and coercion. The DPRK is a reasonable country, capable of making reasonable agreements and reasonable compromises, but what it will not do is compromise its national independence, sovereignty and socialist society.
On behalf of the committee, Comrade Harpal sent warm greetings to the Korean people, the Korean People’s Army, the Workers’ Party of Korea and their leader Comrade Kim Jong Il on their anniversary.