Declassified Chinese papers reveal North Korea’s founding leader Kim Il-sung expressed his desire for denuclearization just months before backing China’s atomic ambitions, a report said yesterday.
Yonhap news agency, citing a Chinese dossier from Beijing’s national archives, said Kim’s wish to rid the world of nuclear weapons was set out in a letter to then Chinese premier Zhou Enlai (周恩來) in 1964.
But in correspondence the following year, Kim congratulated China on its successful atomic tests and advocated Beijing’s nuclear development as a defensive measure against US nuclear threats, Yonhap said.
“Eternal President” Kim Il-sung, who died in 1994, was the father of Kim Jong-il, the current leader of North Korea, a self-declared nuclear power since a 2006 atomic test.
In a declassified letter dated Oct. 30, 1964, Kim senior told Zhou that North Korea favored banning and destroying all nuclear weapons.
“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea [North Korea] has consistently maintained that nuclear weapons should be completely banned and nuclear weapons should be thoroughly destroyed,” Yonhap quoted Kim as saying in the letter.
“The Korean people will stand shoulder to shoulder with the peace-loving people of the whole world for the realization of the complete ban and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons.”
However, Kim Il-sung wrote on May 17, 1965, to then Chinese leader Mao Zedong (毛澤東) following Beijing’s second successful nuclear test: “China’s achievements will play a big role in coping with nuclear threats from the imperialist US and protecting the peace of the people of socialist countries.”
The letters were included in diplomatic documents declassified by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Yonhap said.
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