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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October, 1959


This document was made possible with support from the Henry Luce Foundation

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    Chinese and North Korean officials attempt to resolve the messy citizenship question of KPA veterans with ties to China.
    "Cable, Chinese Embassy in North Korea to the Foreign Ministry Consular Affairs Department," October, 1959, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 118-00942-02, 33-34. Translated by David Cowhig.
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Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Korean Democratic People’s Republic

(1959) Korean Consular No. 012

To the Consular Affairs Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

On October 27, 1959 Director Ri of [North Korea's] Foreign Ministry Consular Department sent to our Consular Section a request that the Chinese government consider the question of giving demobilized military veteran status to those who were originally Chinese citizens of Korean ethnicity who hold Korean passports and who illegally crossed the international border and did not return to Korea (these people who were originally Chinese citizens of the Korean nationality were transferred from the PLA to the Korean People’s Army, or directly joined the Korean People’s Army).

Director Ri said that these people were originally Chinese citizens. Some of them had served in the PLA for a long time. Now their families all live in China. In order to make it easier for the Chinese government to resolve this issue, we need to come to an agreement between our two countries on how to handle the issue of people who cross the international border illegally and the issue of the citizenship of those who hold Korean passports but do not return to Korea. As for how to solve these issues, he suggests that the Chinese side discuss it with the Korean Embassy and consulates in China in order to find a simple method of resolving the issue. He believes that going through a formal procedure for the renunciation of Korean citizenship and acquiring Chinese citizenship would be unnecessary.

Director Ri said that as far as the procedure for handling the issue of these demobilized military service members goes, I believe it should be handled according to two different situations. The first case, in which the person brought with them demobilization documents issued by the Korean Mobilization Department when they went to China, will be easy to handle. In the second case, in which the person did not bring their Korean demobilization documents with them, I expect will also not require them to return to Korea. The Korean embassy or consulates in China can help them obtain replacement demobilization documents from Korea. Once their citizenship and demobilization issues are resolved, I believe that the Chinese government could give them demobilized soldier status.

Our Embassy’s view is that the views of the Korean side given above can be accepted for the most part. There are not many people like this. Among the people who were mobilized in those days to go to [North] Korea, some can be persuaded to return to Korea, while the cases of the remainder can be handled according to law, and once their Chinese citizenship has been restored and they have been issued demobilization documents, then our government can give them demobilized military member benefits.

Please provide guidance as to whether you approve of the preceding.

[seal] Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

1959 [illegible day and month]