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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.

  • March 31, 1978

    Telegram to the Minister of Foreign Affairs from the Ambassador in the United Kingdom

    Report on the meeting between Councilor Kim, Jae-Sung and J. Thorold Masefield, acting director of the Far East Bureau.

  • May 18, 1978

    TELEGRAM 066.588 from the Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    Kim Il Sung and Hua Guofeng are said to have discussed bilateral relations between China and North Korea, Korea's unification, and the Non-Aligned Movement.

  • December 18, 1978

    TELEGRAM 067.056 from the Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    The Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang presents evidence which suggests that relations between North Korea and the Soviet Union have cooled.

  • May 22, 1980

    The Issue of the North Korean Invasion of the South

    Japan and China discuss the possibility of a North Korean invasion of South Korea.

  • October 16, 1980

    Telegram from the Hungarian Embassy in Beijing, 'China on the KWP’s 6th Congress'

    A report on the Chinese attitude towards the Korean Workers' Party 6th Congress.

  • November 11, 1980

    Telegram from the Hungarian Embassy in Beijing, 'The Chinese attitude towards the Korean Workers’ Party’s 6th Congress'

    The Chinese attitude towards the Korean Workers’ Party’s 6th Congress on their support to Kim Il Sung and for the reunification plan

  • March 24, 1984

    Cable from Ambassador Katori to the Foreign Minister, 'Prime Minister Visit to China (Summit Meeting – Korean Peninsula Affairs)'

    Nakasone and Zhao Ziyang discuss economic exchanges between South Korea and China, trilateral talks between the two Koreas and the US, and visits between divided Korean families.

  • March 25, 1984

    Cable from Ambassador Katori to the Foreign Minister, 'Prime Minister Visit to China (Foreign Ministers’ Discussion – The State of the Korean Peninsula)'

    Abe Shintaro and Wu Xueqian review developments in Korea in light of North Korea's attempted assassination of Chun Doo-hwan during the Rangoon bombing.

  • March 26, 1984

    Cable from Ambassador Katori to the Foreign Minister, 'Prime Minster Visit to China (Foreign Ministers’ Discussion – The State of the Korean Peninsula)'

    A more detailed overview of Wu Xueqian and Abe Shintaro's exchanges on the Korean Peninsula in the aftermath of the Rangoon Bombing.

  • March 27, 1984

    Cable from Ambassador Katori to the Foreign Minister, 'Prime Minister Visit to China (Conversation with General Secretary Hu Yaobang)'

    An addendum to the conversation notes between Hu Yaobang and Nakasone Yasuhiro.

  • May 31, 1984

    Memorandum of Conversation between Erich Honecker and Kim Il Sung

    Summary of the conversation between Erich Honecker and Kim Il Sung on 31 May 1984. This is a continuation of the talks suspended on 30 May due to time constraints. Discussion of internal and foreign affairs of East Germany and North Korea, especially concerning relations with China and the Soviet Union.

  • November 20, 1986

    Record of Conversation between Comrade J. Batmunkh and Kim Il Sung

    Kim Il Sung and Jambyn Batmunkh discuss North Korea and Mongolia's relationships with China and the Soviet Union, among other issues.

  • March 26, 1989

    Memorandum of Conversation between George H.W. Bush and Zhao Ziyang

    George H.W. Bush and Zhao Ziyang discuss Sino-American relations and China's reform and opening, in addition to the situations in Korea, India, Pakistan, and the Soviet Union.