Che Guevara visited the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in December 1960. President Kim Il Sung of the DPRK met him and his entourage on December 2.
After according a warm welcome to them, Kim Il Sung explained the successes his country had scored in building socialism, the progress in enforcing free medical service and free education and the experiences gained in improving the people's living standards. He confirmed that the Korean people, though they were under difficult conditions, would render an active assistance to Cuba.
At the grand banquet Kim Il Sung arranged for him, Che expressed thanks to the DPRK leader for the promise.
Kim Il Sung said: As you know, my country is still in difficult situation; but we think that it is our international obligation to actively help Cuba even though it means tightening our belts; it is because we do not regard the Cuban people as strangers to us; genuine communists are true proletarian internationalists; let us join hands, we in the East and you in the Western Hemisphere, and struggle till the day the imperialists kiss the dust.
After his return to his country, he, as the minister of industry, devoted his all for stepping up the country's economic construction and improving the people's standard of living. But the fact that there were countries that were under the yoke of the imperialists weighed on his mind.
He said to Fidel Castro and his other comrades-in-arms: Kim Il Sung said to me that genuine communists are true proletarian internationalists; I regard his words as my motto; I will devote the rest of my life for the proletarian internationalism.
In 1965, leading a unit of Cuban volunteers, he went to the Congo, where the democratic liberation struggle was at its height, and helped the native fighters. Afterwards, he moved to Bolivia to launch a guerrilla struggle in Latin America.
He waged the guerrilla struggle against the reactionary governments in several countries centring on Bolivia for more than two years before dying at the age of 38.
President Kim Il Sung felt most grieved at his death. In May 1969, when he met Allende of Chile, he recollected Che Guevara, saying: “Comrade Che Guevara was an internationalist fighter."