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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 24, 1962

MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN CHINESE VICE FOREIGN MINISTER ZHANG HANFU AND CHARGé D’AFFAIRES COUNSELOR FROM THE EMBASSY OF NORTH KOREA IN CHINA JEONG PUNG-GYE

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation

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    Zhang informed Jeong Pung-gye of the details of the fighting along the Sino-Indian border as well as expressed support for Cuba regarding the Cuban Missile Crisis.
    "Memorandum of Conversation between Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Hanfu and Chargé d’Affaires Counselor from the Embassy of North Korea in China Jeong Pung-gye," October 24, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 106-00642-02, 2-6. Obtained by Dai Chaowu and translated by 7Brands. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114765
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Guest: Chargé d’Affaires Counselor Jeong Pung-gye [Jong Phung Gye] from the Embassy of [North] Korea in China
Received by: Vice Minister Zhang Hanfu
Attendee:
Interpreter: Kang Ryong-gu [Kang Ryong Gu]
Recorded by: Zhang Ruijie
Time: 24 October 1962, 11:00 a.m.
Location: East Building Reception Room

Abstract: Jeong Pung-gye asked about the Sino-Indian border and the US invasion of Cuba

Jeong: I have come here today to see Vice Minister Zhang and ask two questions.

  1. I want to know China’s point of view on Kennedy’s provocations toward Cuba;
  1. What is the situation of the Sino-Indian border issue? Would Vice Minister Zhang give [me] an introduction so that I can report back to my country and let my government and people have a deeper understanding of the facts?

Zhang: Okay. Let us talk about the Sino-Indian border issue first.

The situation has been published in newspapers and the Chargé d’Affaires also knows that the Sino-Indian border issue involves three sectors: the Western, Middle and Eastern sectors. The Western Sector—the Aksai Chin region in Xinjiang—has always been Chinese territory, but the Indian side says that it is its territory. This debate has lasted for a couple of years without any results. It has been discussed not only in diplomatic documents but also during negotiations. They continue to set up outposts in this region, occupying our territory. Forty to fifty of their outposts have been set up. We can see some of their outposts from ours. Clashes have taken place since July of this year.

Clashes have also taken place in the Middle Sector, but, more importantly, in the Eastern Sector. That is the area of the unlawful McMahon Line. It is reported that this line was designated illegally by British and Tibetan representatives on 24 March 1914 and has never been acknowledged by the Chinese government. Neither will the Chinese government recognize the McMahon Line, nor will we cross this line. Although we do not cross this line, India, since June and July of this year, has crossed this line and marched into Tibet in China. Therefore, armed clashes occurred constantly in the Western and Eastern Sectors in June, July, August and September. India is ready to launch a massive attack along the whole line, especially in the Western and Eastern Sectors. China has consistently advocated reaching a solution through peace negotiation without any prerequisites, while India explains that there are prerequisites and that China must move out of Chinese territory. In fact, it [India] uses negotiations to cover up military equipment.

India once again rejected the proposal of holding a negotiation without prerequisites. On 12 October, Nehru gave an order to clear out the Chinese army. As a matter of fact, it [India] wanted to launch an attack and close the door on negotiations. On 14 [October], [V.K. Krishna] Menon, the Indian Defense Minister, announced that India must fight against us to the last man and to the last shot. On 16 [October], Nehru returned from [illegible] [ed. note—Ceylon] and immediately convened an officer’s meeting. The Indian Army continuously fired at the border for three days from 17 [October] to 19 [October]. On the afternoon of 20 [October], India launched an attack on all fronts. In this case, China was forced to defend itself and struck a severe blow to the Indian Army for invading [China]. A fierce war lasted three days from 21 [October] to 23 [October], and the situation today is not clear.

The result of the three-day war is that we destroyed most [Indian] outposts in the Western Sector, while some are still engaging in war; in the Eastern Sector, we have recovered the lost territory within China, north of the illegal McMahon Line.

As India continued to attack, we had to continue the counterattack. India destroyed the McMahon Line, invaded northwards and crossed the Line of Actual Control, which was under our control in the past. They came here, so we were not restrained by the illegal McMahon Line. When we fought back the Indian attack, the conflict spread to south of the McMahon Line. Nevertheless, China has insisted on a peaceful settlement to the Sino-Indian border issue through negotiations. The Chinese government issued a statement on this today. The full text of the statement will be forwarded to the Chargé d’Affaires.

As for this armed conflict, we did not want to fight, but [India]insisted on fighting, so we had to fight, and now it all depends on India’s attitude. If [India]do not negotiate and continue to attack, we have to fight back, but we still advocate negotiation.

The Liberian President [William] Tubman and Nasser cabled us, hoping that a peaceful settlement could be reached, roblems in Asia, Africa and Latin America can be resolved, but they are unable to distinguish right from wrong.

Who was the aggressor, who refused to negotiate, who launched an attack and who was overthrown? Thank you to the Korean Workers’ Party and government for understanding and supporting China’s position. Soviet newspapers have not mentioned it yet. This is a brief introduction of it.

Jeong: I will report what the Vice Minister has said to the government and to our people, so they may have a profound understanding of this issue.

Zhang: Thank you.

Jeong: Can you give us a copy of the map of the Sino-Indian border?

Zhang: Yes, I will give you a copy of an outline map about what I said.

Jeong: The purpose [of the map] is to make people understand [the situation] easily and clearly.

Zhang: Let us come to the US invasion of Cuba. Kennedy wants to invade and destroy Cuba and the Castro regime, which is an established policy, but every attack has come to an end in failure. Recently, it has further created tensions and clamored to take other measures by not allowing the ships to give support to Cuba. The US ships will search and limit and order its military bases around the world to keep on alert. The United States continues to create tension to influence its allies and the Latin American countries. Its show of force has exposed its aggressive policy and policy of war. It chooses to do so, which is not wholly agreed upon by its allies and the Latin American countries. However, it may cause difficulties for Cuba, and we should be more supportive of Cuba to disclose and fight against the United States and pressure it. That the United States chose to do so lies in that Cuba’s influence in Latin America is too great. Cuba is the banner of revolution in Latin America, which is right under its nose but is also difficult to occupy.

The Soviet Union issued a statement yesterday and China is also paying attention to this issue. Socialist countries expose the United States and give support to Cuba, which is necessary.

Jeong: Based on what the Vice Minister Zhang has said, our party gives full support to China in the Sino-Indian border issue and will continue to support [China]. We will disclose India’s reactionary nature among the people to let the people have a deeper understanding of this issue. I will report what the Vice Minister Zhang said to me and my country. If I have any questions, I will come back to the Vice Minister Zhang.

Zhang: Very welcome. We can exchange views any time.