Between the two Communist giants. Romania and North Korea relationship
during the Cold War
Cartea a fost publicată de Asociaţia Centrului de Studii Est-Europene şi Asiatice cu sprijinul Korean Foundation din Republica Coreea ca parte a unui proiect de cercetare. În capitolele sale este abordată problematica complexă a relaţiilor dintre România comunistă şi Coreea de Nord atât din perspectiva relaţiilor bilaterale dezvoltate între cele două ţări, cât şi din perspectiva mizelor strategice care au definit dinamicile sistemice din interiorul blocului comunist, cu deosebire în ceea ce priveşte reunificarea celor două state coreene. Agenda diplomatică a României relativ la dosarul nord-coreean s-a articulat gradual începând cu anii ’60, încercând să devină un actor de luat în seamă în configurarea raporturilor de putere şi competiţie între cei doi poli hegemonici comunişti: URSS şi China. Cu atât mai mult, cartea explorează dimensiuni necercetate până în prezent ale agendei de politică externă a României şi dezvăluie aspecte neştuite ale acţiunilor diplomaţiei româneşti în ceea ce priveşte complexa istorie a raporturilor dintre Bucureşti şi Phenian.
De menţionat că această carte se bazează pe documente inedite care au presupus o actvitatea laborioasă de cercetare în arhivele româneşti şi străine. Au fost cercetate documente din Arhivele Diplomatice şi Arhivele Statului, special declasificate pentru acest proiect. O parte dintre aceste documente au fost transmise Centrului Woodrow Wilson din Statele Unite ale Americii pentru a fi publicate pe site-ul lor de specialitate coordonat de Cold War International History Project.
Au mai luat cuvântul Vasile Secăreş, directorul Centrului de Studii Strategice din cadrul SNSPA, Vladimir Pasti, profesor la SNSPA, şi Mihail E. Ionescu, directorul ştiinţific al Asociaţiei Centrului de Studii Est-Europene şi Asiatice.
Prezentările au fost urmate de o sesiune de întrebări şi răspunsuri.
Lucrarea a apărut în limba engleză la Editura Militară, director Adrian Pandea, autori: Dr. Mihail E. Ionescu şi Carmen Rîjnoveanu.
Alocuţiunea Excelenţei Sale, domnul Park Hyo-sung, ambasadorul Republicii Coreea în România
(January 29, 2015)
Dr. Radulescu, Director Secares, Professor Ionescu, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to be here today with all of you at this important book presentation. This is an event that is special, significant and, indeed, opportune.
First of all, it is special because we are gathered here to witness a wonderful book being presented. As a matter of fact, the authors and their research team were fortunate enough to be able to gain invaluable access to the reservoir of valuable sources and information that are kept in the Romanian National and Diplomatic Archives.
In addition to these valuable dossiers and literature, they also made the most of interviews with a range of actors and diplomats who played an important role in the bilateral relations between Romania and North Korea during the Cold War. This certainly helped enrich their research. In this regard, I take particular note of Ambassador Izidor Urian’s outstanding support and cooperation, as the authors have acknowledged in the introduction of their book.
Of course, the authors were the real locomotive of this meaningful project, which was carried out in cooperation with the Korea Foundation. Their superb analytical skills and insights, as well as their keen interest in and deep understanding of Korea, were instrumental in producing such an excellent work.
In fact, I myself had a number of “Aha” moments when I was reading the book. Extending my most sincere congratulations, I would like to applaud them for the wonderful job they have done.
Secondly, it is significant in light of the precious contributions that the authors have made through this project. In fact, Professor Ionescu, Professor Rijnoveanu, and their colleagues did an excellent job as pioneers in this vast and largely unexplored field. They now have the privilege of having been the first to take the bold, arduous and rewarding initiative that they have taken.
I hope that this book will help to open the floodgates for similar future research projects that will shed further light on the behavior and thinking of the North Korean leadership, often considered to be enigmatic and unpredictable. Therefore, I truly appreciate the pioneering value of this book.
Thirdly, I think it is timely and opportune. As has been aptly pointed out, the authors were able to benefit from the advantage of hindsight. Witnessing the trajectory of North Korea since the collapse of the Communist regime in Romania, in December 1989, may have helped them to put bilateral interactions between Romania and North Korea during the Cold War period into perspective, which in turn may have contributed to the relevance and usefulness of the findings even today.
This reminds me of the International Conference held in Bucharest in November last year on the topic, ‘25 Years since the Fall of Communist Dictatorships in Eastern Europe: Looking Back, Looking Forward’.
Having said that, I believe that the timing for this book presentation is also opportune given that the situation on the Korean peninsula has been getting more attention than ever from the international community since the beginning of the New Year.
As you are probably aware, our government has set this year as a starting point for widening the discussion on unification and for making progress in inter-Korean relations, as it marks the 70th anniversary of the South-North division of the Korean peninsula.
Frankly speaking, it feels both surreal and sad to learn that we are witnessing the ongoing division of the Korean peninsula right here in Bucharest as the new North Korean Ambassador presents his Letter of Credence to President Iohannis at Cotroceni Palace this afternoon. Two Korean Ambassadors, one from the South and the other from the North, are each separately representing their own half of the Korean Peninsula.
Perhaps, you may well understand our situation better if you think about the case of Moldova. To be clear, the Korean people’s wish for unification is as real and strong as yours is vis-a-vis the Republic of Moldova.
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
In light of all this, our President, Madame Park Geun-hye, indicated in her New Year’s press conference two weeks ago that she is willing to sit down for an inter-Korean summit as long as North Korea shows a genuine attitude toward resolving such issues as its nuclear arms programs. In a nutshell, President Park is willing to meet anyone in an effort to end the people’s pain resulting from the national division and to open a path to peaceful unification.
As President Park has stressed once again, our government has no preconditions for the summit. In effect, denuclearization of the North is not in itself a precondition, but the truth of the matter is that we cannot talk about peaceful unification without resolving this critically important issue.
Our President firmly believes that this issue should be resolved through talks between the two Koreas and through multilateral consultations. We sincerely hope that the North Korean leadership will respond to this genuine and forward-looking message from our President in a constructive and positive manner.
I find that the presentation of this book today is both timely and opportune because, as I have just explained, the debate regarding the Korean unification will rage throughout this year. I hope and expect that the book will be of help in this regard.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Last but not the least, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight that this year sees us celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the establishment of our bilateral diplomatic relations. It is safe to say that Korea and Romania have had a lot of similar experiences throughout their long histories, due in large part to their geo-political, geo-strategic, and geo-economic locations.
The Romanian people are great because they have bravely and wisely overcome numerous national difficulties. We Koreans have done the same.
This book is the product of close cooperation between the Romanian authors and the Korea Foundation. This will serve as yet another meaningful joint research, as both sides continue to work together to find realistic and pragmatic answers to questions related to the Korean Peninsula.
This concludes my message to you.
We reiterate our thanks to the organizers of this wonderful event. Once again, I would like to give a big round of applause to the authors and their team for their marvelous job.