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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 18, 1963

REPORT ON CONVERSATION BETWEEN SONG RENQIONG AND KIM IL SUNG

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation

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    Song Renqiong and Kim Il Sung exchanged views on the mutual assistance between China and North Korea, revisionism opposition, economic situation in North Korea, and situation of the Korean Workers’ Party.
    "Report on Conversation between Song Renqiong and Kim Il Sung," October 18, 1963, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 106-00719-06, 49-54. Obtained by Shen Zhihua and translated by Jeffrey Wang and Charles Kraus. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116546
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[To] the Central Committee International Liaison Department, Premier [Zhou Enlai], Chairman [Mao Zedong], Central Committee, and the Northeast Bureau:

We reached Pyongyang on the afternoon of 15 October. Pak Geum-cheol [Pak Kum Chol], Vice Chairman of the Korean [Workers’] Party Central Committee; Pak Yong-guk [Pak Yong Guk], Director of the International Department; Heo Seok-seon [Ho Sok Son], Chairman of the Pyongyang Municipal Party Committee; Rim Gye-cheol [Rim Kye Chol], Minister of the Central Committee Financial Planning Department; and other comrades received us at the [train] station. That evening Pak Geum-cheol had dinner with us. Pak welcomed our acceptance of Comrade Kim Il Sung’s invitation to come to [North] Korea and rest. During the conversation, we discussed opposing revisionism and other issues. After dinner Comrade Pak Geum-cheol said that he received a phone call from Comrade Kim Il Sung welcoming our arrival. [He] also arranged for [us] to meet the following morning.

Comrade Kim Il Sung received us at 10:00 a.m. on 16 [October]. All six vice chairmen of the Korean [Workers’] Party Central Committee were present, as were the Director of the International Department [Pak Yong-guk] and the Minister of Foreign Affairs [Pak Seong-cheol]. The Chinese Ambassador, Comrade Hao Deqing, also went with us. The conversation lasted two hours and then we had lunch. Apart from welcoming our arrival in [North] Korea, Comrade Kim Il Sung’s remarks were mainly about the following issues:

(1) At the beginning [Kim] spoke of how the Northeast [of China] is [North] Korea’s rear area. Kim said that every time he meets the Chairman [Mao Zedong], the Chairman always says “you should maintain very good relations with the comrades of the Northeast. The Northeast is like the rear area of [North] Korea.” During his [Kim’s] unpublicized trip to Wuhan this past June, the Chairman said once again that the Northeast is [North] Korea’s rear area and there should be more contact between the two. When Comrade Choe Yong-geon [Choe Yonggon] visited China, the Chairman also talked about this issue. He said that what Chairman Mao said is very true and very important. Then he cited some facts of how the Northeast had played the role of Korea’s rear area in the past. During the Anti-American War [the Korean War], if the Northeast had not been a rear area, [North] Korea would have [faced] severe difficulties. Without the Northeast during the Anti-Japanese Guerrilla War, they could not have survived and could not have held their banner. During recovery and construction following the Korean War Armistice, [North Korea] also received support from the Northeast. If something were to happen in the future, the Northeast would still be a reliable rear area for [North] Korea. On this point, he was very trusting and confident that the Northeast comrades are examples of internationalist soldiers trained under the correct leadership of Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party headed by Chairman Mao. Of course, it can also be said that the Northeast should act as [North] Korea’s rear area because this is the internationalist duty of communists. They invited us to [North] Korea this time to get to know us and strengthen contact and understanding. He himself is planning to bring some cadres on a non-public visit to the Northeast next summer.

When discussing these issues, we thanked the Premier for his invitation and we fully welcome the Premier to visit the Northeast at any time when he deems convenient. It is our honor and internationalist duty for the Northeast to act as [North] Korea’s rear area. If we talk about support from the Northeast to [North] Korea, we should first say that Korea’s assistance to us was even earlier and greater. During the Northeast War of Liberation, Korea also played the role of rear area. We said, when we were in Beijing, the Chairman and the Premier instructed us that the primary mission of our coming to [North] Korea is to learn. The leaders of the Central Committee all send their greetings to the Premier [Kim Il Sung]. We have also come to [North] Korea this time to report to the Premier about the situation in the Northeast. If the Premier cannot find time, then he can appoint other responsible comrades to listen [to our briefing]. Kim said that he still wants to talk with us and wants to meet us at our residence and that a few vice chairmen can also come.

(2) Then the conversation [shifted] to the issue of opposing revisionism. Kim said that, at present, there are several different fronts: anti-imperialism, anti-revisionism and anti-reactionaryism. We must fight well alongside each other. The situation of the struggle is more complex now than in the past. The intensity of the struggle will be greater in the future than it was in the past. The most intense struggle has yet to come. He said that when Comrade [Liu] Shaoqi visited [North] Korea, the two sides reached a consensus. They believe that the struggle against revisionism is a part of the struggle against imperialism. In the future, [we] must further strengthen unity and the struggle against revisionism. [He] also said that they believe that, in the future, there should be an anti-revisionist revolution in the Soviet Union. He said, China wrote many good articles which played an important role in the international communist movement. In continuing the struggle, [China] will play a large role in differentiating all of the [communist] parties. They are also preparing articles, having basically drafted [an article] and will publish it soon.

(3) When discussing the economic situation in [North] Korea, Kim said that it is basically positive. Agriculture is well this year and they can produce 200,000 to 300,000 tons more than last year. Last year the announced grain yield (including potatoes) was 5 million tons, while in reality it was 4.2 million tons at most. On the industrial side, the plan can be completed this year on schedule with an 8 percent increase in output over last year. The main problems are that the pace is too fast and the minerals industry is lying behind . The strength of capital construction is also very fragmented, and the capital construction plans for the past two years have not been fulfilled. [The plan] may also not be completed this year. Presently [North] Korea’s problems of clothing, food, and housing have basically been resolved. The direction for the future is to improve the quality of cloth, increase [product] varieties, increase oil production and improve the peoples’ living standards. Next year’s planned industrial output will increase by about 20 percent. [This] can be completed without an increase of support from the state. Next year they will mainly focus on light industries, improving quality, increasing product types, increasing the production of thick fabric, resolving winter clothing problems and increasing production of other daily necessities. Heavy industries are beginning to serve light industries. Steel production will not be increased and [they] will focus on increasing product types instead. In addition, [we] also discussed some situations in culture and education.

(4) Lastly we discussed the situation of the [Korean Workers’] Party. Kim said that he already discussed the details with Comrade [Liu] Shaoqi. The general situation is that because the revisionist sect was purged from the [Korean Workers’] Party quite early, the Party is united from top to bottom, the Party’s core positions are consolidated, and [the Party] is in touch from top to bottom. The situation of the masses is also relatively good. The Party is consolidated and it is in contact with the masses. In terms of  anti-revisionism, of course there are activists and passive elements inside of the Party. There are also [those who are] half-hearted, but the activists are the majority. Most want to oppose revisionism, achieve a consensus in the international communist movement and insist on the purity of Marxism-Leninism. Kim also said that the Chinese [Communist] Party is a solid party, otherwise it would not have been able to survive against the pressures of three years of natural disasters, imperialism, revisionism and reactionaries. He said that although [North] Korea has conducted thorough anti-revisionist education, [North] Korea has not done enough. [He said] we should discuss our experience on consolidating the party and conducting anti-revisionist education with them.

The above are the main points of the conversation. The conversation record will be reported separately after it is organized.

On the evening of 16 [October], the [North] Korean side said that they want to publish news of the meeting in newspapers. After discussing the issue with the ambassador [Hao Deqing] and receiving the approval from the Premier [Zhou Enlai], we replied to the [North] Korean side. The news was published in newspapers last night.

Regarding the arrangements for our visit in [North] Korea, when we met Comrade Kim Il Sung on 16 [October] he said that we can observe the troops, the frontlines, economic construction, national defense and underground factories. We can see anything. We can also visit various localities and familiarize ourselves with local cadres to further our contacts. Yesterday when we were talking with the comrades accompanying us, they recommended that [we] stay for one-month and welcomed us to extend our visit. Locations may include Pyongyang, Gangwon [Kangwon] Province, South Hamgyeong [Hamgyong] Province, North Hamgyeong Province, and North Pyeongan [Pyongan] Province. [These locations] are generally the same as what we had originally discussed with Ambassador Hao. We said that because we are busy at home, we hope for the visit to last approximately twenty days and that we agree with the host’s opinion on the locations to be visited. Once the specific plan is settled, we will talk about it again. It seems that the [North] Korean side is attaching great importance to this visit. Their intention is to greatly enhance contacts with the Northeast. In the spirit of the instructions of the Chairman, the Premier, and the Central Committee, we will earnestly learn and carefully and humbly complete [our] mission.

If there are any instructions, please report.

Song Renqiong, Ouyang Qin, Huang Huoqing, and Wu De

18 October [1963]