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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 16, 1961

CHINESE POLICY TOWARD THE DPRK AND BEHAVIOR OF THE CHINESE AMBASSADOR IN PYONGYANG

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    Hungarian Ambassador Károly Práth reports on friction between China and North Korea and describes several instances of discourteous behavior between the two parties.
    "Chinese Policy toward the DPRK and Behavior of the Chinese Ambassador in Pyongyang," March 16, 1961, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MOL, XIX-J-1-j-Korea-5/bc-0030/1961 5.d. Translated by Jószef Litkei. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113388
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The Embassy of the Hungarian People's Republic.

Top Secret.

Subject: Chinese policy toward the DPRK and behavior of the Chinese ambassador in Pyongyang.

Pyongyang, 16 March 1961.

During my visit to Comrade Kohousek on 15 March, I informed him of my conversation with the Chinese ambassador (see my top secret report no. 95). The Comrade Czechoslovakian ambassador fully agreed with me, and he found it highly incorrect that the Korean comrades organized a separate presentation for the government and another for the ambassadors.

In the course of the conversation, we both remarked upon the fact that Chinese ambassador doyen Qiao Xiaoguang has recently not been attending the programs organized for the D[iplomatic] C[orps] by the Korean comrades, under the excuse of being busy. In addition to other [examples], he did not participate in the visit to the steel complex in Kaesong, nor did he attend the performance of the Cuban ballet ensemble or the cultural presentation of Comrade Han Sol-ya, etc. According to Comrade Kohousek, the Chinese ambassador might be dissatisfied because in the course of last year he failed to convince the Korean comrades to support the Chinese position. Comrade Kohousek stated that earlier (last summer) he was of the opinion that the Korean comrades are under Chinese influence; however, recently he had to change his position. It is true that earlier there were attempts by the Korean side to adopt Chinese methods: for example, according to his information, they planned to establish two people's communes, etc., but they soon realized the negative [effects] of this, and gave it up. The so-called “Chongsan-ri method” radically opposes the earlier Chinese position, and, at least recently, the Korean comrades are devoting great attention to maintaining the principle of material interest and socialist distribution.

The Chinese comrades exerted pressure in order to bring the KWP to their side in the debate between the CPSU and CCP last year. The invitation of Comrade Kim Il Sung to China last year (before his incognito visit to Moscow) also proves this. Comrade Kim Il Sung, however, informed Comrade Khrushchev of this [invitation].

Last October, on the occasion of the 10th year anniversary of the Chinese volunteers entering the war, a Chinese delegation headed by General He Long [vice-premier of the State Council] visited Korea and tried again to win Korea over to the Chinese side. Despite this, the Korean delegation did not support China at the November conference, although, together with other delegations, [they] sought to find a compromise solution. To sum up, the Chinese did not reach their goal, despite a further credit of 420 million rubles offered to the DPRK last autumn, so it is not impossible that this is the reason that the Chinese ambassador is so displeased.

In confirming this, Comrade Kohousek told me that although the Chinese side enjoys a position of equality with the Korean side in the armistice committee in Panmunjon, the speeches are always given by the head of the Korean delegation. A recent event, when the new heads of the Swedish and Swiss delegations paid an introductory visit to the heads of the Korean and Chinese delegations, was characteristic of this. The head of the Chinese delegation wanted to return these formal calls, but the Korean comrades did not consent to this, saying that they were not going to return them either. Similarly, a Chinese general came recently to Panmunjon to pay his usual yearly visit and was received by the heads of the Czechoslovak and Polish delegations. Contrary to previous custom, however, the head of the Korean delegation did not show up, nor did he meet the Chinese general later. The latter left pretty soon without any notice.

The same afternoon, I also talked to Soviet Ambassador Puzanov, and informed him as well of my conversation with the Chinese ambassador. Comrade Puzanov agreed with me, the more so since I was the one to inform him that the performance in question was organized for the DC (he was not present due to the Women's Day celebration at the Soviet embassy). He agreed that, under the pretense of discussing various protocol questions, I visit the Chinese ambassador, who following this will have to summon the [other] ambassadors. Concerning the statement of the Chinese ambassador, according to which “some criticize the people's communes, yet they have already been proven to work” (see my abovementioned report), Comrade Puzanov briefly outlined the questions concerning the Chinese people's communes, and told us that according to his personal opinion, the Chinese comrades have also already learned from the experiences of the past years, and there are signs that they put an end to the communes' “egalitarianist” system of distribution and are giving more space to individual farms, etc. That the last plenum of the Chinese fraternal party put the blame for the condition of agriculture entirely on weather and natural disasters is the business of the Chinese, said Comrade Puzanov, although the way we communists become even stronger is exactly by openly admitting our mistakes. He told us that on the way back from the CPSU January Plenum, he came to Pyongyang via Beijing, and also informed Comrade Kim Il Sung about the work of the plenum. On this occasion, the issue of the grave economic situation in China was also raised. Comrade Kim Il Sung declared that they (the Koreans) can also feel the Chinese difficulties, since there are delays in the delivery of coking coal, etc., and foodstuffs are not being delivered to Korea either. According to Kim Il Sung, taking the Chinese situation into consideration, they do not want to hurry the Chinese deliveries. Concerning the people's communes, Comrade Kim Il Sung said that he also follows the recent measures related to this with great attention, and he knows the articles published in the Chinese press, as well. In his opinion, “it is not the name, nor the form that is important, but the content,” and Comrade Puzanov, too, sees the essence of the issue in this.

Concerning this question, Comrade Puzanov made the final comment that Chinese Ambassador Qiao [Xiaoguang] “offended against his own party-consciousness” when he put the blame for their difficulties on the weather alone.

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Ambassador Károly Prát⁨