Mao Zedong discusses the significance of the signing of the Sino-North Korean Economic and Cultural Cooperation Agreement at a banquet for a North Korean government delegation. Dismissing that China's aid to North Korea is one-sided, Mao notes that North Korea "helped" China by being in the front line of the struggle against imperialism. North Korea protected China by preventing the imperialists from crossing the Yale River.
December 10, 1953
CCP Central Committee Propaganda Instructions for the Signing of the Sino-Korean Economic and Cultural Cooperation Agreement
This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation
To the Departments of the Party Central Committee and Central Military Commission, Departments of the Central People’s Government, People’s Political Organizations, Bureaus and Sub-Bureaus of the Central Committee, Provincial and Municipal Party Committees, the Command of the People’s Volunteer Army, Military Districts, and Army Corps:
The announcement of the negotiation bulletin and the Economic and Cultural Cooperation Agreement between China and [North] Korea has spurred deep concern among people of all classes. In order to further the cadres’ and peoples’ understanding of the great significance of this agreement, and to obtain practical international education from this incident, [we] hope that Party Committees and Propaganda Departments at all levels will pay special attention and explain the following points in propaganda:
- The negotiation and signing of this agreement between the governments of China and [North] Korea is the second victory in the Chinese and Korean peoples’ common struggle against the armed aggression of the U.S. imperialists and is a major event since the Korean Armistice. This [agreement] was reached on the basis of firm solidarity and mutual assistance between the Chinese and Korean peoples and is in line with the vital interests of the Chinese and Korean peoples. It is also of great international significance to the defense of the Far East and the cause of world peace.
- The cooperation between China and [North] Korea is one of mutual assistance. The nature of the signed agreement is also one of mutual assistance. Those who believe that Chinese-[North] Korean cooperation is one-sided assistance and it is just China aiding [North] Korea are fundamentally wrong. Those who believe the aid to [North] Korea will affect our own economic construction are also fundamentally wrong. [We] must understand that the United States started the Korean War and that their goal was by no means just to conquer [North] Korea, but, more absurdly, was to open up a breach in the East and to subdue the Chinese people who had already stood up. Therefore, to defeat American aggression against the Korean people is not just a matter for the Korean people, but is for all peace loving people around the world, particularly the Chinese people, who have a close interest in the matter. The slogan “to resist America and aid Korea and defend the country” fully embodies this sense. During the [Korean] War, the Chinese people carried out a wide-ranging campaign to resist America and aid Korea, dispatching the [People’s] Volunteer Army, sending all sorts of materials, [and] really helping the Korean people. The Soviet Union and all of the democratic countries also lent fraternal aid to the Korean people. This type of assistance was very necessary. If there was no assistance from the Soviet Union and China, no assistance from all of the democratic countries and all of the world’s peoples against American aggression, the Korean War could not have been fought well. This is one side; the other side is that it is also necessary to understand that if not for the heroic struggle of the Korean people, China would not be safe. The American imperialists fought to the Yalu River. If they hadn’t been pushed back, there would be no guarantee for China’s construction. If the enemy’s aggressive schemes hadn’t been curbed, peace in the Far East and throughout the world would not have been ensured. Therefore the heroic struggle of the Korean people is also of help to the Soviet Union, China, and the entire democratic camp and the peace loving peoples of the world. In the past, our propaganda about the assistance the Korean people have lent to us has been less than our propaganda about our assistance to the Korean people. In the future, this should receive appropriate attention.
- During our struggle in Korea, [we] obtained a great victory by relying upon the cooperation and mutual assistance of the Chinese and Korean peoples. This victory not only caused the enemy to suffer huge losses in manpower, financial resources, and material resources, but through this war, we gained experience in fighting against the American imperialists and exposing the weaknesses of the American imperialists. [This] puts the American imperialists at a strategic disadvantage, increasing the contradictions for it at home and abroad, and disrupting its plan to launch a new world war. [We] thus increased the confidence of the peace loving peoples around the world in resisting imperialist aggression and have encouraged their will to defend peace.
This great victory was achieved at a common cost. During the struggle to resist America and to aid Korea, the cost for China, compared to the price paid by the Korean people, was not large. During this war, northern Korea’s population of less than ten-million lost one-fifth of its manpower (do not announce this). The depletion of their material and financial resources cannot even be calculated. Right now, northern Korea’s cities have been bombed to ruins. Most of the rural areas were destroyed as well. Life is extremely hard for the people. The Korean people have already made a great contribution towards our common interests and in carrying out our common struggle. To this end, during the negotiations between the Chinese and Korean governments, China decided that the materials and the 7.3 trillion yuan (do not announce this figure) given to [North] Korea during the war would be a free gift given to the [North] Korean government, and that from winter 1954 through 1957, [we] will give an additional 8 trillion yuan to the North Korean government for the restoration of its national economy. This is absolutely necessary. This is not only for the benefit of the Korean people, but also to benefit China and the peoples of the entire democratic peace camp. Because the dividing line at the 38th parallel is a common line of defense for the Chinese and Korean peoples, it also the common line of defense in defending peace in the Far East and throughout the world. In the struggle over this common line of defense, Korea is situated at the first line and China is at the second line. The strong consolidation of the first line has direct and great significance for the second line. The restoration of every village in [North] Korea and every factory is a force for growth and is closely connected to us. Thus, helping the Korean people to heal the wounds of war and restore their national economy is an important task for the consolidation of our common defense.
- The Korean people are brave and hardworking. Through their own efforts under the leadership of the Korean Workers’ Party and Comrade Kim Il Sung and with the support of the Soviet Union, China, and the democratic countries, the Korean national economy will be able to recover and North Korea’s national defense will be enhanced. The economic recovery and strengthening of the national defense of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the stable and gradual improvement of the peoples’ lives will have a strong impact upon the South Korean people and prevent provocations from the Americans and Syngman Rhee. It will thus benefit the Korean people in their fight for the country’s peaceful reunification and independence and freedom. This is also conducive to our peaceful development.
- The [North] Korean people are not afraid of hardship, they love to work, and they are disciplined. The Chinese people are not as well off in these respects [and] we should learn from them [the Korean people]. In the past, there has been little coverage and propaganda about the virtues of the Korean people. In the future, coverage should be increased.
[We] hope that all Party Committees and Propaganda Departments will explain and educate cadres and the people on the above points in the appropriate manner and coordinate these [efforts] with the work to welcome the [North] Korean people’s delegation, which is going to visit China at the end of this year.
Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party
10 December 1953
The Central Committee of the CCP offers instructions on how to quell public dissent over the signing of the Sino-North Korean Economic and Cultural Cooperation Agreement in 1953.
The History and Public Policy Program welcomes reuse of Digital Archive materials for research and educational purposes. Some documents may be subject to copyright, which is retained by the rights holders in accordance with US and international copyright laws. When possible, rights holders have been contacted for permission to reproduce their materials.
To enquire about this document's rights status or request permission for commercial use, please contact the History and Public Policy Program at [email protected].