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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 13, 1976

    Report from the GDR Embassy in the USSR, “Note about a Conversation between Comrade Bauer and Comrade Basmanov, Deputy Head of the 1st Far Eastern Department of the USSR Foreign Ministry, on 10 May, 1976.”

    Summary of a conversation between Comrade Bauer and Comrade Basmanov addressing the personality cult in the DPRK, the socialist development in the DPRK, the DPRK’s economy, the relationship between the Soviet Union and the DPRK. Basmanov, furthermore, compared the DPRK’s relationship with the Soviet Union to its relationship with the PRC.

  • May 27, 1976

    Report from the GDR Embassy in the DPRK, “Note concerning a Conversation in Moscow on 12 May, 1976, with the Head of the Far East Department, Comrade Kapitsa, and the Head of the Southeast Asia Department, Comrade Sudarikov”

    Summary of a discussion addressing the personality cult in the DPRK, its economy and its foreign relations, particularly with other socialist countries.

  • February 11, 1977

    Telegram 066531 from the Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    The Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang reports to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the Embassy of the PRC to Pyongyang's screening of a movie dedicated to the memory of Mao Zedong. Several Ambassadors of the USSR, GDR,and Mongolia were invited but did not attend the event.

  • March 16, 1977

    Telegram 065241 from the Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Soviet Comments on Sino-North Korean Relations

    The Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang reports to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the development of Sino-North Korean relations, especially regarding their increasing economic cooperation.

  • June 28, 1977

    Telegram 066658 from the Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    The Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang reports on North Korean propaganda in reaction to US Secretary of State Cyrus Vance's visit to Beijing.

  • July 31, 1977

    Telegram 066691 from the Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    The Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang reports to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the DPRK government does not intend to contact Cyrus Vance during his visit to Beijing.

  • November 17, 1977

    On Relations between DPRK and PRC

    A comprehensive assessment of Sino-North Korean relations written by the Embassy of the German Democratic Republic in North Korea.

  • December 13, 1977

    Report on the Official Friendship Visit to the DPRK by the Party and State Delegation of the GDR, led by Comrade Erich Honecker

    Report on the official visit to the DPRK of a GDR delegation led by Erich Honecker. Included are the summary of the visit and the text of the Agreement on Developing Economic and Scientific/Technical Cooperation.

  • December 15, 1977

    The Official Visit of the GDR Party and State Delegation led by Erich Honecker to the DPRK

    The Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang reports to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the official visit of the GDR party and state delegation led by Erich Honecker to the DPRK. A recurring theme is the DPRK's commitment to the solidarity of the international Communist movement, and its reluctance to discuss international issues. The DPRK emphasizes bilateral relations, good relationships with both the Soviet Union and the PRC, and agrees to develop economic cooperation with the GDR.

  • February 02, 1978

    TELEGRAM 066.566 from the Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    Though China is offering constant support for the DPRK government's position on the reunification issue, North Korea also seeks to improve relations with the Soviet Union.

  • February 28, 1978

    TELEGRAM 066.532 from the Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    The Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang notes that despite North Korea's policy of equidistance toward the USSR and the PRC, the DPRK in fact has tilted closer to China.

  • 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.