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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. See also the Digital Archive collection on Repatriation to North Korea.

  • May 15, 1949

    Telegram, Shtykov to Vyshinsky

    Shtykov recounts a recent meeting between Kim Il and Mao Zedong.

  • May 18, 1949

    Cable No. 54611 from Kovalev to Stalin

    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 03, 1949

    Cable, Filippov [Stalin] to the Soviet Ambassador, Pyongyang

    Stalin asks the ambassador to find the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Beijing and tell him that they agree with the DPRK's thinking on the feasibility of establishing diplomatic relations between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the People's Republic of China.

  • 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.

  • November 05, 1949

    Cable Telegram no. 20475 from Gromyko to Kovalev

    Gromyko demands Kovalev to pass the reply of Stalin to Mao Zedong in response to his telegram regarding the Workers' Party of South Korea.

  • November 19, 1949

    Telegram, Zhou Enlai to Gao Gang and Li Fuchun

    Zhou Enlai tasks Gao Gang and Li Fuchun with exploring whether or not Chinese coal can be exported to North Korea.

  • December 03, 1949

    Zhou Enlai's Approval of the Northeast Ministry of Public Security's Travel Documents

  • December 15, 1949

    Telegram, Zhou Enlai to Wen Shizhen

  • December 19, 1949

    Telegram, Zhou Enlai to Gao Gang and Wen Shizhen

    Zhou Enlai reports on Chinese delegates attending a medical conference in North Korea.

  • April 07, 1950

    Cable from Chen Yun, Bo Yibo, and Ma Yinchu, 'On Withdrawing the Northeast Business Delegation in Pyongyang and the North Korean Business Delegation in Shenyang'

    Chen Yun, Bo Yibo, and Ma Yinchu announce that the Northeast Business Delegation in Pyongyang and the North Korean Business Delegation in Shenyang should be withdrawn and a new mechanism for economic exchanges with North Korea should be established.

  • 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.

  • May 16, 1950

    Telegram, Filippov [Stalin] to Mao Zedong via the Soviet ambassador

    Stalin notifies Mao Zedong that he believes the signing of a treaty pact between China and North Korea should only come after Korean reunification.

  • July 08, 1950

    Ciphered Telegram No. 3231, Filippov (Stalin) to Soviet Ambassador Roshchin

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

  • October, 1950

    Four Principles for Unity Between the Chinese People's Volunteer Army and the [North] Korean People

    Mao instructs soldiers in the Chinese People's Volunteer Army to support Kim Il Sung and abide by North Korean policies while they help defend the North Korean people from the United States.

  • September 10, 1951

    V. Razuvayev, '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"

  • February 08, 1952

    Ciphered Telegram No. 16293 from Beijing, Mao Zedong to Filippov [Stalin]

    Mao conveys two telegrams to Stalin: one from Peng Dehuai to Mao (22 January 1952) and the other is Mao’s response (4 February 1952). The telegrams discuss North Korea’s need for aid from China.

  • September 02, 1952

    Report, Zhou Enlai to the Chairman [Mao Zedong] and the Central Committee

    Zhou Enlai and Peng Dehuai try to persuade Kim Il Sung to fight until the United States proposes negotiations.

  • September 13, 1952

    Cable, Zhou Enlai to Chairman Mao

    Zhou Enlai reports that Kim Il Sung, Pak Heon-yeong, and Peng Dehuai will reach Beijing on October 16.

  • September 20, 1953

    Congratulatory Message [from Mao Zedong] to the Chinese People's Volunteer Army

    Following the signing of the Korean War Armistice, Mao writes to congratulate the soldiers of the Chinese People's Volunteers.

  • 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.