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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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China-North Korea Relations

This collection of documents probes the relationship between China and North Korea from the 1940s through the 1980s. While often described as being "as close as lips to teeth," this collection highlights instances of both cooperation and mistrust between China and North Korea.

  • May 18, 1949

    Telegram from the leader of the group of Soviet specialists in Northeast China to the Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers about the results of the Chinese-Korean talks on military cooperation

    A telegram from the leader of the group of Soviet specialists in Northeast China to the Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers about the results of Chinese-Korean talks on military cooperation.

  • October 06, 1949

    Premier Zhou Enlai's Note to North Korea on His Willingness to Establish Diplomatic Relations with China

    Zhou Enlai writes to North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Hon-yeong and conveys China's desire to establish diplomatic relations with North Korea.

  • April 10, 1950

    Ciphered telegram, Soviet Representative Aleksei Ignatieff in Pyongyang to Vyshinsky

    In a discussion between Mao Zedong and Ri Ju-yeon, Mao expresses a positive attitude toward China-North Korea relations, though indicates he is unaware that Kim Il Sung was then in the Soviet Union.

  • July 08, 1950

    Ciphered telegram, Filippov (Stalin) to Soviet Ambassador Roshchin in PRC transmitting message to Mao Zedong

    Telegram from Stalin to Beijing advising that they send a representative to Korea.

  • September 10, 1951

    [Top Secret] Report to Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK, 'Political Attitudes and Korean-Chinese Relations in Connection with the Armistice Talks'

    Report on "Political Attitudes and Korean-Chinese Relations in Connection with the Armistice Talks"

  • November 12, 1953

    Note from the Embassy of the Polish Republic in Korea

    The Polish Embassy reports on the DPRK delegation headed by Kim Il Sung which left for Beijing.

  • November 23, 1953

    Mao Zedong’s Remarks at the Banquet for the North Korean Government Delegation

    Mao Zedong discusses the significance of the signing of the Sino-North Korean Economic and Cultural Cooperation Agreement at a banquet for a North Korean government delegation. Dismissing that China's aid to North Korea is one-sided, Mao notes that North Korea "helped" China by being in the front line of the struggle against imperialism. North Korea protected China by preventing the imperialists from crossing the Yale River.

  • November 23, 1953

    Agreement on Korean Technical Personnel Receiving Training in China and Chinese Technical Personnel Working in Korea Made by the Governments of the People’s Republic of China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

    The full-text of the Agreement on Korean Technical Personnel Receiving Training in China and Chinese Technical Personnel Working in Korea signed on 23 November 1953 by Zhou Enlai and Nam Il

  • December 10, 1953

    CCP Central Committee Propaganda Instructions for the Signing of the Sino-Korean Economic and Cultural Cooperation Agreement

    The Central Committee of the CCP offers instructions on how to quell public dissent over the signing of the Sino-North Korean Economic and Cultural Cooperation Agreement in 1953.

  • April 21, 1954

    Additional Notification from the Organizational Bureau of the Central Committee on the Issue of Political Examinations for Persons Receiving Training Abroad and Technical Personnel Aiding Korea

    The Organization Department of the Central Committee of the CCP offers instructions on political examinations for Chinese specialists working in North Korea

  • June 04, 1954

    Chinese-North Korean Agreement Regarding North Korean Technical Personnel Studying in China and Chinese Technical Personnel Working in North Korea

    An agreement between China and North Korea concluded in Beijing on November 23, 1953, regarding North Korean technical personnel studying in China and Chinese technical personnel working in North Korea and meant to strengthen bilateral friendship and further develop bilateral cooperation in production technology.

  • 1955

    The Main Issues for the Conversation with the Korean Comrades

    A Soviet memorandum containing recommendations for North Korea's political and economic development as well as foreign policy.

  • April 06, 1955

    The Nature of Our Revolution at the Current Stage and the Primary Tasks of Our Party in the Cause of Socialist Development in North Korea

    Suzdalev comments on the problems with a KWP CC document, "The Nature of Our Revolution at the Current Stage and the Primary Tasks of Our Party in the Cause of Socialist Development in North Korea".

  • October 26, 1955

    Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry

    Report from József Füredi, chargé d’affaires ad interim at the Hungarian embassy in the DPRK, on a meeting he had with German Ambassador Richard Fischer on 10 October 1955. He reports that the German Ambassador believes the North Korean government and leadership is much less effective than the Chinese one.

  • October 27, 1955

    Shanghai Municipal Committee Comments on the Municipal Committee State Enterprise Department’s ‘Report on the Working Conditions of North Korean Trainees in this Municipality’s Factories'

    Transmission of the Municipal Committee State Enterprise Department’s report on actions of humiliation and mockery of North Korean trainees, October 8, 1955.

  • April 20, 1956

    Ciphered telegram, excerpt from cable from Soviet Ambassador to the PRC P. Yudin re meeting with Mao Zedong

    Excerpt of telegram from P. Yudin, Soviet Ambassador to the PRC, reporting to Moscow on a conversation he had with Mao Zedong. Mao allegedly stated that there had been miscalculations prior to the commencement of the Korean War that international actors would not intervene on behalf of South Korea.

  • September 04, 1956

    Memorandum of Conversation with the Ambassador of the Peoples Republic of China to the DPRK Qiao Xiaoguang

    Ambassador Ivanov in the DPRK speaks with PRC Ambassador on the four Koreans who spoke against Kim Il Sung that are being held at the Chinese border. Ivanov states that the Soviet Union is against criticizing Kim Il Sung.

  • September 05, 1956

    Letter from Seo Hwi, Yun Gong-heum, Li Pil-gyu, and Kim Gwan to the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee

    Seo Hwi, Yun Gong-heum, Li Pil-gyu, and Kim Gwan provide a detailed report on the events of the August Incident and the days leading up to the plenum. The four justify their actions and request the support of the Chinese Communist Party.

  • September 18, 1956

    Conversation records between Chairman Mao Zedong and the Soviet Communist Party Delegation, 18 September 1956

    Mao Zedong and the Soviet Community Party Delegation exchanged views on Korean issues and a potential visit by Kim Il Sung to the PRC.

  • September 19, 1956

    Record of a Meeting between the Soviet and Chinese Delegations

    Mao Zedong reveals that several Korean Workers' Party members have been placed under arrest, including Pak Il-u, who is looked favorably upon by the CCP. Sino-North Korean relations have become strained as a result of Kim Il Sung's handling of the August Plenun Incident. Mao admits to Mikoyan that the Korean Workers' Party leadership may not heed their advice, but they decide to send a joint delegation to Pyongyang the next morning.