Inside Report (3)

North Korea, mon ami.

It's not yet official, but France is preparing to recognize North Korea. This is a bit of a surprise since North Korea does not have - as do North Vietnam, Cuba, and Nicaragua - a political, sentimental constituency in Europe's left-of-center opinion.

Further, such a move is likely to hurt French interests, which have blossomed in South Korea. One reason for this enigmatic move, which is not likely to please China or the Soviet Union: It may be a small present to the French Communist Party. The PCF is a junior partner in the present French government and has had little say.

France would like an East European country to recognize South Korea in order to balance its initiative, but so far none have volunteered.

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