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Digital Archive International History Declassified

December 29, 1964

CABLE FROM THE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE, 'OPINIONS ON HANDLING THE TECHNICAL INFORMATION MENTIONED BY THE NORTH KOREAN EXPERT GROUP DURING THEIR VISIT TO CHINA'

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    The Science and Technology Committee reports to the Foreign Office of the State Council on challenges regarding the transfer of scientific and technologic assistance to North Korea. It then provides suggestions for improved coordination, communication, and controls to facilitate the process.
    "Cable from the Science and Technology Committee, 'Opinions on Handling the Technical Information Mentioned by the North Korean Expert Group during their Visit to China'," December 29, 1964, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Jiangsu Provincial Archives, 3124-0124, 11-13. Obtained by Shen Zhihua and translated by Jeffrey Wang and Charles Kraus. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121983
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Opinions on Handling the Technical Information Mentioned by the [North] Korean Expert Group during their Visit to China

[To] the Foreign Office of the State Council:

According to the request of [North] Korea, since last year, when Chinese institutes and the relevant departments of the State Council received a [North] Korean delegation and specialist group, [we] have provided [North] Korea with a large amount of technical materials and samples, including 382 relatively important items. The transfer procedures for these items were [determined] by the Foreign Economic and Trade Committee and the Trade Attaché from the Embassy of [North] Korea in China. There are an additional 57 items which have been organized but not yet provided to the [North] Korean side. During the Seventh Session of the Sino-Korean Scientific and Technological Cooperation Committee held in Beijing in October of this year, our side, in accordance with the program that the Foreign Office approved for this session, put forth the abovementioned lists of items which have been provided or are not yet available to the Korean side. [It was] requested that [the lists] be confirmed and [it was] also proposed that [they] be entered into the protocol of the current session. The [North] Korean side said that because [they] had not prepared before going abroad, [they] cannot confirm the abovementioned items and that [this] must wait until after the Seventh Session or during the Eighth Session to be resolved.

In September of this year, as a result of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee International Liaison Department’s arrangements for the [North] Korean industrial delegation, an additional 1,889 technical materials and samples were put forward during an inspection of the Northeast. The Northeast Bureau has already provided the Korean delegation with 1,806 items, while 83 items have not yet been given to the [North] Korean side.

At present, the materials and samples provided to the relevant [North] Korean delegations and specialist groups have lacked a unified system and strict transfer procedures. According to the Chinese Embassy in [North] Korea, some of the technical materials provided in the past have already become the private property of Korean technicians and their own inventions. The [North] Korean side cannot manage and control the use [of these materials], and so it will be easy to produce losses and for [these materials] to flow into third countries. It is difficult to guarantee China’s state secrets. It is also easy for the [North] Korean side to get the wrong impression and believe that they do not have to obtain required data and material through the bilateral scientific and technical channels. For example, during the Seventh Session of the Sino-Korean Scientific and Technological Cooperation Committee, the Korean side asked for 72 items from us. Acting in this way will result in a lot of inactivity in the work of Chinese departments. It is also difficult for us to centrally control management [of this issue].

Given the above situation, we believe that, in the future, we may wish to work out corresponding systems and methods to increase control. [We] are raising the following suggestions to counter this problem:

  1. The list of the 140 technical materials not yet provided to the [North] Korean side will be sent to the Trade Attaché at the [North Korean] Embassy in China for confirmation. Once the [North] Korean side has formally agreed to have asked [for these items], [we] will deliver this portion of the items to the [North] Korean side and proceed with transfer procedures.
  1. For the lists of technical materials and samples already provided to [North] Korea’s relevant delegations and specialist groups, [the lists] will be submitted to [North] Korea and [we] will report to the Korean side that [we] want [the lists] to be added to a supplementary resolution at the Eighth Session of the Sino-Korean Scientific and Technological Cooperation Committee. If the [North] Korean side does not agree to add these items to a resolution, then [we] will write memorandums to the [North] Korean side for future reference.
  1. In the future when relevant departments receive professional missions from Albania, [North] Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba, or when [professional missions visit] the [North] Korean and Vietnamese border areas, if provisional requests [for materials] are made [or] when materials and samples are provided, the receiving Chinese departments must report that [these] requests need to go through the bilateral scientific and technical cooperation channels and that [we] cannot directly provide [these items] to them. If the materials and samples needed are time-sensitive and [they] are eager to get their hands on them, then first report to the Science and Technology Committee to consult with the other side’s institutions in China. If it is agreed for [the request] to become a scientific and technical cooperation project and to be included in the resolution of the next [scientific and technical cooperation] session, the Science and Technology Committee will deliver [the items] to their agencies in China.

Is the above appropriate? Please provide instructions.

Science and Technology Committee

16 December 1964