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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 09, 1965

CONVERSATION BETWEEN CHAIRMAN LIU SHAOQI AND PREMIER ZHOU ENLAI AND CHARGE D'AFFAIRES JEONG BONG-GYU AT THE 17TH NATIONAL DAY RECEPTION HELD AT THE NORTH KOREAN EMBASSY

This document was made possible with support from the Henry Luce Foundation

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    Liu Shaoqi and Jeong Bong-gyu discuss the Indo-Pak War, the likelihood of holding the Second Asian-African Conference, and the war in Vietnam.
    "Conversation between Chairman Liu Shaoqi and Premier Zhou Enlai and Charge d'Affaires Jeong Bong-gyu at the 17th National Day Reception held at the North Korean Embassy," September 09, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 106-01479-07, 58-62. Translated by Stephen Mercado. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/118793
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President Liu and Premier Zhou on 9 September at the Embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in China

Conversation with Charge d’Affaires Jeong Bong-gyu [Chong Pong-gyu] at 17th National Day Reception

Jeong Bong-gyu (hereafter abbreviated Jeong). We know that Comrade President Liu is very busy and are very grateful that Comrade President in the midst of all he has to do has made time today to attend our reception. Comrade President’s presence adds a new luster to our reception.

President Liu (hereafter abbreviated Liu): I ought to come for National Day.

Jeong: It appears that the ongoing clash between India and Pakistan is increasingly grave.

Liu: It is increasingly grave. At first, Pakistan made alliances with Britain and the United States; India had no alliance. But Pakistan at present has not overturned the alliances that India has made with Britain and the United States. At first, Pakistan joined the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization” and the “Central Treaty Organization.” On the basis of these treaties, Pakistan has called on members states for assistance, but they have not given it. On the surface, Pakistan has made alliances but, in reality, is in opposition to Britain and the United States. One cannot simply view the surface of a situation, right?

Jeong: That is right. Just as you say, Comrade President, on the surface Pakistan is an ally and India is not, but the real situation is the opposite. One cannot look at the surface but must see the nature of the situation.

Liu: Right.

Jeong: Do you not know the outlook for the Indo-Pakistani conflict?

 At present it is difficult to say. When fighting breaks out, it does not turn out as people desire. When fighting begins, war has its own laws. It does not go according to the will of the Indians or that of the Pakistanis, nor according to the Americans or the British. Once fighting breaks out, it is not so easy to stop it. At present, shall it stop according to the Indian side's conditions? Pakistan will not stop. Shall it stop according to Pakistan's conditions? India, too, will not. There is then no choice but to fight! This thing – war – has its own laws.

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Below is the conversation following the speech of Jeong Bong-gyu.

Jeong: It has already been a few years since Comrade President Liu visited our Korea.

Liu: Was it 1963 when I went? Two years have already passed since then.

Jeong: There has been much change in two years.

Liu: Yes, the change has been great.

Jeong: In these last two years, the power of the People's Republic of China has grown considerably. When Comrade President Liu visited Korea, China had not yet exploded the atom bomb.

Liu: At that time we had not.

Jeong: It goes without saying, suffice it to say, that the situation has greatly changed and that China's power has greatly increased.

Liu: We have to continue with it, but this thing -- the atom bomb -- only frightens people. Truly solving issues depends on people.

Jeong: Right. Premier Kim Il Sung also often puts it this way: all issues must be solved by people. Chinese comrades, the Chinese government puts much emphasis on this point, and we also put much emphasis on this point. Our view and that of the Chinese comrades are entirely in agreement. 

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Below is the conversation following the Premier Zhou Enlai's speech.

Premier: Today I have caused a commotion among the guests.

Jeong: We support Comrade Premier’s speech. As for our position on India, Premier Kim Il Sung has already stated it. We support China unconditionally. India’s walking out [of the UN Security Council] is a provocation.

Premier: India has a great power behind it, and so is too unconstrained.

Jeong: At present the situation in Asia is very complicated. I am concerned that the Afro-Asian Conference cannot open as scheduled. What is Premier Zhou’s view?

Zhou: If India continues expanding its invasion of Pakistan, then it is possible the conference will not be held (the Premier followed in saying that India at present India from several roads is attacking Pakistan).

Liu: The US fighting in Vietnam is closely connected to you and to us. There is the possibility of your and our being dragged into it. Look, has not South Korea already been drawn into it?

Jeong: Yes. But with China present, we have no fear; our confidence is great. China has now grown even stronger, and the enemy is afraid.

Liu: Of course, it would be better for us not to be dragged into it; however, this is not for us to decide. We must see what the enemy does.

Jeong: In a situation where the struggle of the people in Vietnam against the United States is facing difficulty, we must share life and death through thick and thin with the Vietnamese people. Our country has resolved to send troops in support of the Vietnamese people when the Vietnamese people require us to do so. At present the United States continues to drag the South Korean puppet army as their cannon fodder into South Vietnam. In 1962, at the time of the Sino-Indian border clash, Premier Kim Il Sung also said that, if needed, we would send troops to fight alongside China. Of course, China in reality does not need us to send troops. But this is the proper position for us.

Liu: We should be prepared. We need to prepare for us both being dragged into the war in Vietnam. Does the enemy want to fight? What will you do?

Jeong: If they want to fight, they are probably going to fight.

Liu: Right, they want to fight.

Jeong: In the face of the enemy we cannot give even an inch. If we give an inch, they will take a foot. At present we keenly feel that the Democratic Republic of Vietnam will continue to suffer US unrestrained bombing.

Note: Interpreter and collator: Jiang Chunyi

——End——