A four member delegation of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) visited Britain from late January to early February.
Their main mission was to discuss prospects for the improvement of bilateral relations, including in such spheres as trade and academic exchange, and especially to look at developments in renewable energy, including wind and tidal power. Besides London, the delegation visited Bristol and Cambridge.
The delegation was headed by Comrade Pak Kyong Son, Vice Director of the International Department of the WPK Central Committee, and the other members were Comrades Ri Ung Gil, Kim Hyong Chol and Tong Kyong Chol.
On the evening of Sunday 1 February, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) (CPGB-ML) hosted a reception and dinner to welcome our Korean comrades.
Despite appalling weather, this being the evening when London came to a standstill due to heavy snowfall and the city’s lack of adequate preparation and investment in infrastructure and emergency services, a large number of party members turned out to give a resounding welcome to our comrades-in-arms, who are standing on the frontline of the struggle against US imperialism and its allies.
The formal part of the evening began with a performance of beautiful English classical and folk songs, by Edward Elgar and other composers, with piano accompaniment, presented by two brilliant young women students from a leading London conservatory.
Welcoming the delegation, on behalf of the Central Committee, and especially of Party Chairman Comrade Harpal Brar, who was overseas, Comrade Ella Rule, Vice Chairman and International Secretary, said: “We are so happy to welcome you here, and so grateful that you were able to find time from your busy schedule to come and spend an evening with us. Many of us here tonight have enjoyed your hospitality in Korea and we welcome the chance to be able to reciprocate, even if our efforts are very modest compared to yours.”
She continued: “You have been in England now for a week, and you cannot have failed to notice signs of material wealth to the point of extravagance, with the shops full of people spending like there’s no tomorrow, notwithstanding the economic woes in which our country is embroiled. The IMF has indicated that Britain will suffer even more than other countries as a result of this crisis, as it had sunk so much of its economy into the very financial services which are now in terminal decline. When the crisis is finally over, it is probable that Britain’s standing as an imperial power will be severely weakened.
“In the meantime, companies which were household names are disappearing into bankruptcy, with their workers thrown out on the streets. Last month alone, 78,000 jobs were lost in our country – and most of these people will not find it at all easy to find other work. For the moment at least they are fortunate enough to receive from the state sufficient money to keep starvation at bay – although it is only a matter of time before our ruling class decides it cannot afford such luxuries as social security benefits after paying hundreds of billions of pounds to rescue our ailing banks – and failing.”
Contrasting this with the situation in Korea, Comrade Rule said: “In your country, people in general have much less in material wealth than people do here. However, they more than make up for this in spiritual wealth and wellbeing. In this country, more than a quarter of all children are brought up in poverty, which means their families cannot afford the material possessions that others have, even if they are not starving. However, all these children are subjected to night and day propaganda, through the television and advertising in general, which preaches that a person’s worth is to be measured by material possessions – to which they have no access. A recent report into the life of British children has noted that they no longer play out of doors, but stay at home in front of the television, being bombarded by advertising designed to make them desperately want the generally useless products that the advertisers are promoting, needing to possess these items in order to boost their self esteem. Deprived of the means to acquire these items, an alarmingly high number of young children turn to prostitution and drug dealing in order to acquire the money to be able to buy this self esteem for themselves.
“In your country, your young people do not have this problem… The state provides them with every facility not only to go out and play, but also to develop their artistic, sporting, musical and other talents. It also provides excellent education that puts Korean children some two years on average ahead of English children at school. Korean children do not need material possessions to boost their self esteem – instead they have their growing intellectual, artistic and sporting abilities to convince them that they are valuable people for their community.”
Comrade Rule concluded by thanking “your country, its Workers’ Party and its undisputed leader, Comrade Kim Jong Il, for sticking firmly to principles of humanity and socialism”, proposing a toast to the Korean people, the WPK and Comrade Kim Jong Il and congratulating him on his impending 67th birthday.
In his remarks, Comrade Pak Kyong Son, expressed the delight of himself and his delegation members at the welcome extended to them and extended their own fraternal greetings to Comrade Harpal Brar and all members of the CPGB-ML. He continued: “We are deeply encouraged by your support and solidarity shown to our people in our struggle for defending the sovereignty of our country and defending socialism, and also our efforts to achieve national reunification.”
Comrade Pak continued: “Our people are waging a struggle to defend socialism in very difficult conditions because of the anti-DPRK campaigns on the part of the United States and its imperialist allies. The socialist cause is going alright in our country thanks to the struggle on the part of the entire membership of the Workers’ Party of Korea and your solidarity.
“I know Comrade Ella Rule visited the DPRK on the occasion of the 60th birth anniversary of Comrade Kim Jong Il and she is very familiar with the circumstances of our country. Last year when we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea the entire membership of the WPK and the people of Korea demonstrated their real confidence to add lustre to the achievements made by Comrade Kim Il Sung, the founding father of socialist Korea, and their will and desire to follow the songun [army first – ed.] revolutionary leadership of Comrade Kim Jong Il to complete our cause of socialism.
“This year the entire population, including the working people of our country, set out on a struggle for a great revolutionary upsurge. We are going to make a fundamental turning point in our struggle to build a great, powerful socialist nation based on the achievements we made in all areas including politics and ideology. The party members are full of enthusiasm to achieve these successes. We are trying to demonstrate the superiority of a socialist economy by achieving progress in our struggle to improve the national economy and improve the living standards of the popular masses.
“Socialism is a science and is the ideal of human beings, so I think it will surely win. We will be with you in our struggle for socialism… I am sure you will have a big success in your struggle to defend and promote socialism in the difficult and complicated situation in Britain. I wish you all the best.”
Concluding, Comrade Pak brought the entire hall to its feet with an enthusiastic standing ovation in response to his militant slogan:
“Long live the indomitable unity and friendship between the Workers’ Party of Korea and the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist Leninist)!”
Following an excellent dinner, a representative of the CPGB-ML Central Committee entrusted to the head of the delegation a gift from Comrade Harpal Brar to Comrade Kim Jong Il and a floral tribute for his 67th birthday. Gifts from the party were also presented to all members of the delegation.
Comrade Pak expressed his thanks and said he would personally convey the gift and floral tribute to Comrade Kim Jong Il. He expressed thanks once again to the CPGB-ML and noted, in particular, that he and his comrades were convinced that the party had a bright future, as it had many young comrades in its ranks, which was so important for continuing the revolutionary cause.
The entire evening was a great success and marked a new milestone in further consolidating the warm, comradely and militant fraternal relations between the WPK and the CPGB-ML, based on proletarian internationalism.