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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.

  • September 19, 1956

    Draft of 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 incident. Mao admits to Mikoyan that the KWP leadership may not heed their advice, but they decide to send a joint delegation to Pyongyang the next morning.

  • September 20, 1956

    Record of a Meeting between the Sino-Soviet Delegation and the Korean Workers' Party Presidium

    Both Mikoyan and Peng Dehuai strongly urge the KWP Presidium and Kim Il Sung to consider rehabilitating those involved in the August Plenum Incident. Choe Yong-geon suggests that they will be restored to the Central Committee, but not necessarily to their original positions, and certainly not to the Presidium. As for those who fled to China, both Choe and Kim say that they will be allowed to rejoin the party, but not the Central Committee and will not be guaranteed their old positions.

  • September 21, 1956

    Telegram from A. Mikoyan to the CPSU Central Committee

  • September 21, 1956

    Telegram from A. Mikoyan to the CPSU Central Committee

    A meeting with Kim Il Sung reveals the main goals of the Sino-Soviet delegation: to convince the Korean Workers' Party to move away from policies of repression and to repeal the order to expel the group of accused party officials. Kim agrees on repealing the expulsion order, but not for those who fled to China. Mikoyan asks that Sino-Soviet delegation be allowed to sit in on the presidium meeting the next day.

  • September 26, 1956

    Telegram from Ponomarev to the CPSU Central Committee

    Peng Dehuai informs the Soviet delegation that the DPRK has not published the results of the Korean Workers' Party Central Committee Pllenum as promised. Peng suggests that if the DPRK fails to publish the resolutions, another joint delegation should be sent to Pyongyang.

  • November 05, 1956

    Memorandum of Conversation with the Chinese Ambassador to the DPRK Qiao Xiaoguang

    The PRC intervention of Mikoyan and Peng Dehuai regarding the September Plenum is discussed, along with the possibility of the critics of Kim Il Sung's leadership returning from the PRC.

  • May 22, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 22 May 1957

    Puzanov meets with the PRC Ambassador to the DPRK, Qiao Xiaoguang, and tells him about his trip to Hamgyong with Kim Il Sung. Both Ambassadors express respect for the hard work of the Korean people, acknowledge the shortcomings of the DPRK economy, and discuss the movement to regulate the work style of the Korean people. Qiang is unwilling to discuss intra-Party aspects of the KWP, but he agrees to continue exchanging information with Puzanov in the future.

  • May 23, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 23 May 1957

    Nam Il asks Puzanov about the possibility of a Soviet parliamentary delegation to the DPRK. Puzanov states the obstacles and proposes alternatives. Then they discuss relations with the PRC and the PRC Ambassador Qiao Xiaoguang.

  • July 12, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 12 July 1957

    Pak Ui-wan informs Puzanov on the characteristics of KWP CC meetings, criticizes Choe Yong-geon, and discusses issues regarding Soviet-Koreans and DPRK-PRC relations. Pak reports on instances of incorrect attitudes of North Korean officials and his personal relations with KWP members.

  • July 29, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 29 July 1957

    Puzanov and Pak Jeong-aei discuss potential KWP leadership promotions, the combining of several ministries, and relations between the Chinese People's Volunteers and the North Korean population.

  • August 09, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 9 August 1957

    Nam Il shares his positive impressions of meeting North Korean voters with Puzanov. Puzanov also asks about the investigation of anti-Party North Korean factionalists and encourages the exchange of information with the PRC Ambassador to the DPRK, Qiao Xiaoguang.

  • September 30, 1957

    Li Fuchun’s Report on Sino-Korean Trade Negotiations

    Li Fuchun reports on negotiations between China and North Korea over trade and North Korea's First-Five Year Plan occurring from 13 September through 23 September 1957.

  • October 04, 1957

    Li Fuchun’s Report on Sino-Korean Trade Negotiations

    Li Fuchun reports on negotiations over Sino-North Korean trade and North Korea's First-Five Year Plan.

  • October 07, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 7 October 1957

    Nam Il comments on the murder of South Korean citizens by American soldiers and on North Korea's relations with China and the Soviet Union.

  • October 23, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 23 October 1957

    Qiao Xiaoguang relays the results of the trip to China by the unofficial Korean delegation headed by Kim Il, where the draft of the first DPRK five-year plan and issues of the commodity exchange between the PRC and DPRK were discussed.

  • October 24, 1957

    Notes from a Conversation between the 1st Secretary of the PRL Embassy in the DPRK with Comrade Pelishenko, Counselor of the Embassy of the USSR

    Brzezinski Henryk and Comrade Pelishenko discuss the "August Group" in North Korea, providing details on the investigations and arrests that followed the August 1956 Plenum.

  • November 13, 1957

    From the Journal of A. M. Puzanov, Record of a Conversation with Kim Il Sung

    Kim Il Sung describes a recent meeting with Mao Zedong, Peng Dehuai's "interference in the internal affairs" of the KWP, and his invitation for Mao to visit the DPRK, among other topics.

  • December 04, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 4 December 1957

    Pak Ui-wan relays Kim Il Sung's report that is to announced in the KWP CC Plenum and Kim Il Sung's positive review of the meetings at Moscow.

  • December 07, 1957

    Notes from a Conversation between the 1st Secretary of the PRL Embassy in the DPRK with Cheng Wenjin, 1st Secretary of the Embassy of the PRC

    Brzezinski Henryk and Cheng Wenjin discuss North Korea's Five-Year Plan, China's economic advice offered to the North Koreans, and Chinese aid to and trade with North Korea.

  • December 17, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 17 December 1957

    Kim Il Sung discusses his plans to send a letter to Mao Zedong about the withdrawal of the Chinese volunteers from DPRK and to convene a Party conference as well as the current situation with trade in pork and progress of the conference of agricultural cooperative workers.