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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 26, 1961

CABLE FROM THE CHINESE LIAISON OFFICE IN GAESONG, 'XI-LI’S VIEW OF THE CURRENT SITUATION IN KOREA'

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    The Chinese Liaison Office in Gaesong describes a Czech General's assessment of the situation in South Korea. According to the General, the May Revolution in South Korea was single-handedly engineered by the United States and the situation is unlikely to be resolved in the absence of an improvement in Sino-US relations.
    "Cable from the Chinese Liaison Office in Gaesong, 'Xi-li’s View of the Current Situation in Korea'," May 26, 1961, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 106-00581-10, 86-87. Translated by Anna Beth Keim. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121298
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Telegraph to the Foreign Ministry

[...]

Xi-li’s View of the Current Situation in Korea

I will first report some views that General Xi-li [sic], Czech member of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission, shared with me on May 25 regarding the Korean situation, as follows:

1) Regarding whether the United States can withdraw its troops from South Korea: Xi-li quoted Swiss committee member Fansi [sic] as saying, “The U.S. will not and cannot withdraw its troops from South Korea, because it will not and cannot possibly leave its battle positions in Asia and the Far East. If the U.S. left, it would lose face in Asia and among its allies. Its Asian allies would see America’s withdrawal as a betrayal of trust, and thenceforth break away from the American camp and America. At that point the U.S. couldn’t possibly rely only on its own military strength to maintain its status in Asia, and it would then lose its status in the Far East. So the present circumstances will continue to hold.

Xi-li also quoted Swedish committee member Mu-yi-de [sic] as saying that the prerequisite for resolving the Korean issue is resolving the issue of Sino-U.S. relations. Xi-li himself believes that the Korean issue is not an isolated one, and that it has a close relationship to the international situation. The U.S. will not leave South Korea of its own volition. The South Korean people do not have weapons and are powerless to drive away the U.S. army. The northern part of Korea emphasizes that it is up to the Korean people themselves to solve the Korean issue; this slogan has a positive effect within Korea and can bring the people’s initiative into full play, but in reality it won’t work.

2) As to South Korea’s military coup, Xi-li believes it was single-handedly engineered by the U.S. prior to the coup, Lemnitzer (U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), etc had maneuvered in Korea. After the coup, Song Yo-chan (South Korea’s former army chief of staff), who is employed by the U.S. Department of Defense, immediately expressed deep sympathy. Yun Bo-seon’s resignation and his later retraction of it were in fact prompted by the U.S. The U.S. struck a pose and played all kinds of tricks with the goal of diverting the world’s attention. The U.S. knew that using force to overthrow the Jang Myeon government was not the best policy, but couldn’t find a better solution. The U.S. engaged in this coup because Jang Myeon, after coming to power, did not make any improvements in South Korea, and on the contrary made the situation more chaotic. A vast amount of aid from the U.S. also failed to have the effect the U.S. hoped for. Jang Myeon’s conduct did not entirely conform to the United States’ wishes. In order to control the South Korean situation, the U.S. had no choice but to kick Jang Myeon out. Syngman Rhee’s overthrow last year was also the will of the U.S., because Rhee was unwilling to improve Korean-Japanese relations. After today the U.S. might engineer a false election, selecting a batch of loyal running dogs to form the new “legal government”.

Gaesong Liaison Office

26 May [1961]