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May 12, 2018
THE TRUE NORTH KOREAN ISSUE INCLUDING A LETTER FROM NORTH KOREA
Giancarlo Elia Valori
Source: Modern Diplomacy
Today, after the signature of the agreement between the two Koreas during the fifth
Summit after the 1953 ceasefire, we can finally note some structural constant factors
of the inter-Korean issue.
The South Korean leader, Moon Jae-in, asked Kim Jong Un when he could visit
Pyongyang and the North Korean leader replied: “even now”.
Forgive this subjective note in a strategic analysis like this, but I was there.
I was received with full honours by the President of the Presidium of the Supreme
People’s Assembly of North Korea, Kim Yong-Nam, at the Supreme People’s
Assembly Palace the day before the Panmunjom ceremony. I spoke at length with the
North Korean Leader and his aides and I assessed many ideas and impressions.
I saw and meditated everything although, as often happens to me, I have to treasure
upall these things and ponder them into my heart – as the Blessed Virgin did when
she listened to her Son’s sermons.
In other words, firstly I can state that North Korea’s opening is real and sincere. It will
also best able, if Westerners and Japan want so.
As repeatedly noted over the years, North Korea’s nuclear, missile and chemical-
biological potential was precisely what the small North Korea needed to rise to a world
status and to pose the problem of its security and independence before all
superpowers, as well as to ask for the respect due even to the smallest country in the
Countries, regardless of their size, can be autonomous and independent or not.
The key has always been to avoid being “disarmed prophets” – just to use an old
concept developed by Machiavelli.
Italy is not a dependent country, it is now virtually non-existent.
Secondly, Kim Jong Un’s opening to the Western world, and to the United States at
first, is conditional upon an issue that Kim himself has long discussed with Chinese
President Xi Jinping on his very recent visit to China in the last week of March.
As repeatedly noted in recent years, China does not want to have a US army on its
border without having the possibility of opposing to it a buffer State protecting it from
the US imperial instability and volatility.
North Korea does not want to be the Piedmont of China, a small military power
patrolling the Chinese Southern borders.
However, it does not even want to be a secondary and passive factor in the future
development of the entire Korean peninsula.
Therefore the tree planted by Kim and Moon together on the North-South Korean
border is not an old symbol of the French Revolution, but rather the token of a
Korean unity based on a first concept, namely denuclearization – which is China’s
primary goal for both North and South Korea.
Hence eliminating all nuclear, biological and chemical weapons from the Korean
peninsula is a guarantee for North Korea, as well as safety and security for South
Korea and an absolute need for China.
I think it would be a good choice also for the United States and Japan.
Hence lowering and equalizing strategic potentials throughout Southeast Asia is the
rational point of contact for all strategies in the region. It must be pursued immediately.
Rightly Japan has still some doubts about the pan-Korean Summit and it has promptly
made it known to the United States.
But, again, lowering the trigger threshold of a clash, even a conventional one, works
to the benefit of everyone and mainly of Japan.
The latter is recreating a tripartite economic relationship with China and South Korea,
which could become the axis of North Korea’s new regional development.
It is also worth recalling that Japan is fully resuming its economic relations with China
thanks to the 13th Round of trilateral economic talks between Japan, China and,
coincidentally, South Korea.
An axis along which North America can place itself to tackle economic issues with
This is essential in a context of present and future tariff wars.
Hence also the economic relations between South Korea and China are returning to
This strategically means that – if Xi Jinping’s China wants so – it can almost fully
replace the US support to South Korea.
This is related and conducive to a weakening of the US military system in South Korea.
Thirdly it is worth underlining that Kim Jong Un ordered his military officers to
“organize frequent meetings” with their Southern counterparts, without even referring
to South Korea’s frequent military exercises with the US forces.
The “permanent peace regime” to resolve the “unnatural state of tension” between
the two Koreas is one of the true goals of the Summit and it goes in the direction of
Russian strategic interests.
Let us not forget that Vladivostok is a few kilometers from the North Korean coast.
This is also in the interest of China, which is not much interested in a unified Korea,
but has the supreme aim of not having US forces in contact with its own or even with
North Korea’s, considering that 160,000 Chinese soldiers are stationed at fewer than
100 kilometres from the North Korean border.
In particular, China does not want nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula, both in
North and in South Korea.
At the end of our summary on the fifth inter-Korean Summit – after the 1972, 1992,
2000 and 2007 ones -we arrive at the core of the issue, namely the economy.
In short, Kim Jong Un wants to ease the military tension to pursue his primary goal, i.e.
his country’s economic growth.
It is not a denial of his theory of the correlation between military development and
Quite the reverse. It is a reaffirmation of the positive connection between North Korea’
s two lines of development.
However, which is the North Korean leadership that has worked for this great
breakthrough, thus reaching this turning point?
The mistake that Westerners make when analyzing the Asian political structures is to
think that everything happens as in the Grimms’ fairy tales, in which a King decides
bizarre things by chance without ever analyzing their effects.
None of that: the Asian systems, but especially North Korea’s, are apparently
“irrational” for us followers of the legal rationalism not based on value judgements, but
perfectly functional within their traditions and the oldest political symbols of the East.
If only in the West were we so sensitive to our old political traditions as the Chinese
and North Koreans – but also the Japanese and the Vietnamese- are. The issue does
not lie in economic systems, but in the political and cultural nature of political systems.
As is well-known, Karl Wittfogel studied the role played by ancient China’s hydraulic
system in relation to the mythical role played by the Emperor of “Everything under the
The “Great Korean Empire” was proclaimed in 1897 and was later immediately
reabsorbed in the opposing dialectics between China and Japan.
Both North and South Korea remember the symbol, its history and its meaning, as well
as the never healed wound.
Hence without well understanding the Leader’s traditional and sapiential role in the
Asian world, neither Communism nor the other pro-Western societies can be
Hence who is really collaborating with Kim Jong Un, who is a cultured and lucid
rational leader, very different from the “rocket man” described by the less cultivated
The answer to this question is Ri Su-Yong, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs
Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Korea.
He was next to Kim Jong Un during the ceremonies of the recent meeting in
Panmunjom. He was with me the day before and, indeed, he is now a friend with whom
I have long been talking about international policy.
Certainly I would have preferred not to be citizen of a country, namely Italy, which after
two months of the North Korean Ambassador’s stay in Italy, refused to assess his
credentials and sent him back home without even receiving him for pure common
courtesy, as good manners dictate.
The foolish servants of politicians who are making other political choices. The utmost
Voltaire was right in saying: “very often, say what you will, a knave is only a fool”.
Let us imagine how much leeway we could open up in the new Korean equilibrium, in
both business and international policy, as well as projection of Italy’s and EU’s
peaceful power throughout Asia – if only we knew how to behave.
Nevertheless Quos Deus lose vult, dementat.
However, with a view to better understanding the issue of relations between North
Korea and me, I want to quote a letter recently sent by Ri SuYong to me.
It is an important, official and – indeed – analytical letter to understand the whole
range of issues relating to the relations between South and North Korea.
THE LETTER STATING NORTH KOREA'S POSITION
Giancarlo Elia Valori
Honorable de l’ Académie des Sciences de l’Institut de France, UNESCO Ambassador,
Chairman of La Centrale Finanziaria Generale SpA
Dear Prof. Giancarlo Elia Valori,
I would like to offer you my compliments and send you this letter regarding the
situation of the Korean peninsula.
On November 29, 2017, our country brilliantly accomplished the great historic
achievement of completing the State’s nuclear power program thanks to the
successful test launch of the new ICBM.
The intercontinental ballistic missile “Hwasong 15”, newly developed according to the
strategic and political decision of the Workers’ Party of Korea, is a more powerful
ICBM reaching our goal of completing the missile system development.
Our efforts to develop the strategic weapon are intended to safeguard the
sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country and to ensure the peaceful life of
the people faced with the US hostile policy and ongoing threats.
In recent years the United States has systematically not recognized our country and
tried to fully isolate and stifle us.
By falsely accusing our nuclear deterrent to be “a threat to the world”, the United
States forces the other countries to downgrade the level of diplomatic relations and
completely suspend all international economic and trade activities with our country, as
well as to step up sanctions even in the field of international organizations’
humanitarian aid activities.
By recently putting our country again in the list of “countries sponsoring terrorism”,
the Americans have openly shown that they use every method and means to stifle our
Unfortunately, some European countries have lost their impartiality and objectivity and
follow the US attempts to isolate and stifle the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
It is well known that the Korean peninsula’s nuclear problem is a matter between the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the USA, resulting from 70 years of US
hostile policy and ongoing threats.
It is no secret that the United States had attempted to launch the nuclear bomb on our
country during the Korean war and has begun to deploy nuclear weapons in South
Korea since 1957.
With a view to invading our country, since 1970 the Americans and South Koreans
have started to carry out ongoing joint military exercises on a large scale against us,
by using their huge nuclear strategic resources including nuclear submarines and
How could we remain passive when a country deploys strategic nuclear aircraft
carriers and submarines in the Atlantic Ocean and threatens every day to bomb our
country with nuclear bombers while openly declaring on the UN scene its willingness to
For over 70 years European countries have been able to ensure peace and social
stability along the path of the European Union thanks to the common will and efforts to
avoid the recurrence of a cruel war such as World War II.
Peace is a very valuable asset for our people who have suffered a cruel war imposed
by the United States and always face the danger of another nuclear war.
Comrade Kim Jong Un, our esteemed President of the Workers’ Party of Korea, said
that our Party’s goal is to build a peaceful world without war.
On the contrary, what the United States wants is ongoing tension on the Korean
peninsula, not peace.
Because ongoing military tension on the Korean peninsula serves as a clear excuse
for maintaining its hegemonic position on the Eurasian continent to restrain and
threaten the other powers of the region and favor the sale of weapons to the other
countries by the monopolistic companies of the US war industry.
The fact that during the visit paid to Asia early November, the US President had
forced South Korea and Japan to buy high-tech military equipment from the United
States at astronomical prices isa case in point.
We were forced to choose nuclear weapons for protecting peace on the Korean
peninsula and defending the sovereignty of our country.
The lesson learnt from the long-standing conflict with the United States is that we
cannot communicate with this country with words, but with force and that only the
balance of power with the United States will ensure sound peace on the Korean
Our nuclear force and power only have to do with the United States and not with
We are developing friendly and cooperative relations with the European countries
which respect our sovereignty.
Hence Europe has nothing to fear from the expansion of our ballistic missile range as
long as it does not take part in the US military activities against our Republic.
Nevertheless some European countries increase pressures and the embargo against
our country, by taking sides with the United States. This does not help to solve the
Korean peninsula’s problem and produces only disadvantages.
The US nuclear threat, pressure and embargo against our country are hostile acts
designed to annihilating our ideology, our regime and people.
The more the level of threats, sanctions and pressures against our country is raised,
the harsher our response will be.
The European countries must well think whether participation in the US hostile actions
against our Republic is in line with the values of freedom, equality, mutual respect and
defense of human rights that Europe champions.
I would like to seize this opportunity to wish you the greatest success in your political
Ri Su Yong
President of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
November 30 Juche l 06 (20 17)Pyongyang
However, who is really Ri Su-Yong, the man who executes the orders, but also
collaborates creatively with Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un in North Korea’s foreign
policy and also in other sectors?
I think his biography speaks for itself.
It will also enable us to understand the particular mechanism existing in North Korea,
but also in many other Asian countries, which finds a balance between the Leader’
symbolic and real power with a system of checks and balances.
This system, however, has nothing to do with the Enlightenment liberal ideologies
which have created the political mechanisms of checks and balances in the West.
As shown in the letter sent to me, Ri SuYong -also known as Ri Chol -is the vice-
President of the North Korean Labour Party, besides being Chairman of the
Diplomatic Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly, but he is also a member of
the Central Committee and the Political Office of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK),
according to the best traditions of the Third International.
Ri Chol is Kim JongUn’s official representative to Europe and was Ambassador to the
UN Mission in Geneva.
I speak French with him.
In 1974, Ri was appointed Director General for Protocol and International
Organizations at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and in 1980 he became deputy-
Director of Kim Jong-Il’s Personal Secretariat and deputy-Director of the Organization
and Guidance Department.
In 1980, Ri was posted again to the North Korea’s Embassy to Geneva, where he had
served as Protocol official, while he travelled across Europe and performed very
delicate tasks jointly with the Supreme Leader and his family.
Ri Chol finally became North Korea’s Ambassador to Switzerland in 1988.
In Bern he followed the personal and school career of Kim Jong Un, who studied in the
Swiss capital at the local University and later followed additional courses at the HSG,
the University of St. Gallen, where in the past a great economist Ota Sik – the man of
the “New Economic Model” developed in Prague with the leader of the Prague Spring,
Dubcek – had taught.
In 2010, Ri Chol was recalled to his homeland, where he started to work for the
In 2014 he became Foreign Minister.
Two years later he was appointed to the Party’s Central Committee.
He was born in 1940 and studied at the Mangyo’ndae Revolutionary School and later
at the Kim Il Sung University but, at that time, he was already a personal friend of Kim
From a spiritual father to an aide and finally a friend- this is the mechanism by which a
very high profile figure like Ri Chol has become the true éminence grise of North
Korea and the kingmaker of the current détente phase.
Let us hope that the effrontery and temerity of the foolish servants or the imperial
obsessions of someone in the West will not soon put an end to this extraordinary
opportunity for peace.