Romanian document confirms North Korea sent troops to Vietnam

Studied military tactics of South Korean troops

Dec 05, 2011

The NKIDPs release last week of eDossier No. 2, “North Korean Pilots in the Skies over Vietnam” by Merle Pribbenow confirmed that in early 1967, a North Korean Air Force regiment was sent to Vietnam to help defend North Vietnam against U.S air attacks.

Now, a new Romanian document, obtained and translated for NKIDP by Eliza Gheorghe, indicates that North Korea dispatched additional personnel to Vietnam to carry out psychological warfare against the nearly 313,000 South Korean troops sent to fight against the North Vietnamese between 1965 and 1973. North Korean military officers also studied the fighting tactics and combat readiness of the South Korean troops.   

Telegram from Pyongyang to Bucharest, July 6, 1967

 

Source: Romanian Foreign Ministry Archive. Obtained and translated for NKIDP by Eliza Gheorghe

[Click to view in the NKIDP online Digital Archive]

 

Telegram No. 76.247

TOP SECRET

July 6, 1967

 

In a discussion on July 5th, between A. I. Lazar, our Second Secretary, Nguyen Long, Second Secretary and delegate ad interim of the National Liberation Front (NLF) in Pyongyang, the latter, out of his own initiative, told A. I. Lazar that following an agreement between the Cuban revolutionary government and the NLF, it was established that Cuba appointed a permanent delegate to the NLF. In this respect, the Cuban government appointed the former Cuban press correspondent who had spent his previous two years on the freed territories in South Vietnam.

Nguyen Long mentioned that in case other countries were interested to send diplomatic delegates or press correspondents to the freed territories in South Vietnam, the NLF would insure, to the best of its abilities, the necessary conditions in which they can pursue their activities.

In reply to a question asked by A. I. Lazar, the Vietnamese diplomat said that the North Koreans were aware of this offer from the NLF but so far it had not manifested its wish to send a permanent delegate to the NLF. Actually, Nguyen Long said, the North Koreans had plenty of people active in South Vietnam. He added that “They are active in those areas where South Korean troops are operating, so as to study their fighting tactics, techniques combat readiness and the morale of the South Korean Army, and to use propaganda against the South Koreans.” Nguyen Long said that the DPRK was planning to send even more people to South Vietnam but they were confronted with language difficulties, as they don’t speak Vietnamese.

The activity of these North Koreans operating in South Vietnam is coordinated by a member of the North Korean embassy in Hanoi, who has strong ties with the NLF representatives in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

Signed: N. Popa

5.VII/15.

[Click to view in the NKIDP online Digital Archive]

Experts & Staff

  • Christian F. Ostermann // Director, History and Public Policy Program; Global Europe; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
  • James Person // Deputy Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
  • Charles Kraus // Program Assistant
  • Roy O. Kim // Program Assistant