June 28, 1962
Record of Conversation from Premier Zhou Enlai's Reception of the Delegation of the North Korean Supreme People’s Assembly
This document was made possible with support from MacArthur Foundation
Premier Zhou [Enlai] (to be abbreviated as Zhou): Several Vice Premiers could not be here today because they are ill. How many Vice Premiers do you have?
Pak Geum-cheol (to be abbreviated as Pak): Seven. (eventually changed to eight)
Zhou: We have sixteen. How many Vice Chairmen does your Standing Committee have?
Pak: We have three [Vice Chairmen]: Kang Ryang-uk [Kang Ryang Uk], Han Seol-ya [Han Sol Ya], and Paek Nam-un [Paek Nam Un].
Zhou: We have thirteen Vice Chairmen. How many parties does [North Korea] have?
Pak: We have the Korean Social Democratic Party and the Chondoist Chongu Party. The people in charge [of these parties] are all here (referring to Kang Ryang-uk and Pak Sin-deok). There are also some small parties that came over from South Korea. These parties exist only in name, such as the National Independence Party.
Zhou: Are they connected to the South?
Pak: Due to the military demarcation line, there are no public connections [but] there are some secret underground connections. There are more fishermen who come [to North Korea from South Korea] by sea. There are hundreds of people [who come] every year.
Zhou: It is convenient to conduct contact through fishermen. The sea provides a very good opportunity for contact.
Pak: It is a very good opportunity [and] we want to maintain this relationship in the future. Most of the people that come over are good people, but there are also some bad elements. After they come, we show them our factories, we take care of them, and in many cases they return to [South Korea] and say good things [about North Korea].
Zhou: This kind of work can be expanded because there is no 38th parallel at sea.
Pak: Even at sea, American guard ships conduct interceptions, so the fishermen come over at night.
Zhou: The [fishermen] have needs. We have already introduced the parties of the National People’s Congress to you. Our government departments also have other parties; they probably all attended Chairmen Zhu [De’s] party. Recently our newspapers all published the file passed by the [North] Korean Supreme People’s Assembly. The President of the Assembly wrote to us and we also received a telegram. The newspapers also published Comrade Choe Yong-geon’s report on South Korea and on opposing the American-Park Chung Hee bloc. Apart from our support for your “25 June” commemorative activities, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and our government will also take actions to support you. The United States is quite nervous because its provocative actions in Asia have all received counter blows. Its recent troop deployment in Thailand was opposed by various socialist countries and was opposed and criticized by other countries in Asia. Even its allies are offering differing opinions and criticisms. The United States is isolated as a result of its troop deployment in Thailand, particularly since the three forces in Laos have already joined together to form a coalition government. The Geneva Conference is also early next month, and so the United States will become even more isolated. The [North] Korean Supreme People’s Assembly’s file condemning the provocations of the American-Park Chung Hee bloc in South Korea and requesting the withdrawal of American troops came at an appropriate time. It is an effective action in striking against the U.S. At the same time, Vietnam also took similar actions to criticize the American-Ngo Dinh Diem bloc and requested the withdrawal of American troops from South Vietnam. We also publicly revealed the American-Jiang Jieshi [Chiang Kai-shek] conspiracy to conduct provocations and landings across the Taiwan Strait. The coordination between our fraternal countries is excellent; the coordination between Asian countries is also excellent. The United States’ plan is to create a crescent shaped encirclement; from South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, South Vietnam, Malaya, Thailand, Pakistan, India, and then west to include Iran and Turkey, this would encircle Soviet Asia. The current American actions in South Korea, South Vietnam, and Taiwan, as well as the activities of the 7th Fleet, are inseparable elements from its plan. However, the United States also admits that its plans are incomplete, that there are some gaps, and its allies are not united. For example, relations between South Korea and Japan are not yet [agreed upon]. On the one hand Jiang Jieshi and the Americans are cooperating and want to try to conduct provocations in the Taiwan Strait, but, on the other, there are also contradictions. Yesterday, Kennedy told journalists that Jiang Jieshi is not allowed to act without permission; this could also be a double act, but for Jiang Jieshi it looks bad, it is difficult to be a son. It seems the United States is sparing no expense to expand its military and prepare for war and they are expanding their bases as much as they can. However, there are many loopholes and the situation is not to their advantage. The most important experience is that the United States’ weakness emerges when socialist countries and nationally independent countries join together in condemning American military provocations. If we become tough, then they become soft. The formation of the Laos coalition government proves this point. Phoumi Nosavan is a product of the United States and in the past he produced serious troubles, [but] since everyone strongly opposed American troop deployments to Thailand, he had to concede and agree to the formation of a coalition government. This is a victory for Laos. Of course, the United States will not take a softer stance on all issues due to one incident. In order to fight its arrogance, we still need to conduct struggles on all fields. On this point, both of our parties, national assemblies, and governments all hold the same view: we cannot be soft on the United States; we can only beat them back by confronting them. The United States’ condition in Asia is vulnerable. In order to strike, we must have firm preparations. [North] Korea, China, and [North] Vietnam all share this view. If they come they will destroy us; if they do not come then we should prepare. Preparations will help us avoid trouble. We admire and support the foreign policy of the Korean Workers’ Party. The Geneva Conference is about to be held, and we have sent the Vice Foreign Minister [to the conference]; if an agreement is reached in the future then we will have the Foreign Minister sign the agreement. We are prepared to continue to expose American provocations in Asia. The United States needs to be responsible for the tense situation in Asia, which includes the Korea issue. [We] want the United States to withdraw troops from various places of tension. (Towards Comrade Chen Yi) Does Comrade Foreign Minister have anything to say?
Chen Yi: The Premier has said it all. I do not have anything to say. Let us have comrade Kang Sheng present the gifts? (Comrade Kang Sheng presented a 15th century book of ancient Korean poetry to comrade Pak Geum-cheol. Pak expressed his thanks. Premier Zhou said that they are continuing to expand their collection and if they find more they will present them [to North Korea]. Then he talked about his trip to Jilin. Jilin was the site where Premier Kim Il Sung studied and conducted anti-Japanese struggles. Local authorities [at Jilin] have been instructed to collect items for commemoration. Section skipped.)
Zhou: Regarding some situations at the Geneva Conference, we can have the Foreign Ministry inform Comrade Ambassador. Although this is a local issue, it relates to the world anti-imperialist struggle.
Pak: When we went to Andong [Dandong], Shenyang, Tianjin, Beijing, Wuhan, Shanghai, and Hangzhou, our delegation received the enthusiastic welcome of the Chinese people everywhere. We were received like blood brothers. Today with the Premier and the Vice Premiers here, I want to say that our time in China has been very delightful and joyous. Our meeting with Chairman Mao [Zedong] in Wuhan was particularly important, and Chairman Mao discussed the relationship between our two parties and the [overall] situation with us. During our visit, we also had discussions with Comrade Peng Zhen, Comrade Deng Xiaoping, and Chairman Liu [Shaoqi] about opposing revisionism. Today Premier Zhou also discussed many issues with us, all of them very important. Earlier Premier Zhou talked about the issue of opposing imperialism. American imperialism is our mortal enemy; the Korean [Workers’] Party and the Korean people are absolutely firm about this. The Korean [Workers’] Party and the Korean people clearly understand that the Chinese [Communist] Party and the Chinese people have always assisted us throughout history. At the same time [the Chinese] have also provided enthusiastic support for our current foreign policy. The main focus of our work within the Party is to educate the people to oppose revisionism and to conduct a long term struggle against imperialism. Therefore we oppose becoming undisciplined; [we] must maintain our vigilance. We educate Party members to oppose western trends [as] western trends emerge from moral degeneration and make people desire peaceful lives. We must therefore oppose moral degeneration. The Premier also understands that the situation before and after the liberation of Korea is complicated. After the war, Korea’s revolutionary mission became even more complicated. [Although] the enemy organized anti-communist organizations in Korea, the Party has concentrated on reforming them and uniting with them to jointly engage in construction. We have already made some achievements and we will continue this work. Regarding the economic situation, we are currently struggling for year two of the Seven-Year Plan. During this year, we want to occupy the Six Peaks. As Vice Premier Luo [Ruiqing] knows, this spring when tensions were high, we sent Chief of Staff Kim Chang-bong over [to China]. Due to heightened tensions at the time, we had considered compressing the Six Peaks [in order to] strengthen national defense. [But] judging from the current situation, we can still continue with the original plan. The transformation of the production relationship between urban and rural areas was completed smoothly, but there were shortcomings. Some people become complacent with small achievement [only]. Premier Kim [Il Sung] instructed us to be attentive and prevent that from happening. In terms of future plans, Premier Kim is considering a continuation of this year’s standards: work hard on agriculture and then work on national defense with the remaining strength. The firm Marxist-Leninist and anti-revisionist positions of our two parties will not change and in the future our position will also be completely identical to the Chinese [Communist] Party’s. Regardless of possible difficulties and complex situations, our party and people—in accordance with the spirit and instruction of Premier Kim—will always stand together with the Chinese [Communist] Party. The Chinese [Communist] Party has a long history and is rich in experience. The relationship between our two parties was formed through mutual-assistance in long periods of difficult struggle. [Our relationship] was formed particularly under the principles of Marxism-Leninism and our unity and friendship remain constant. Premier Kim often tells us that we cannot sell out our friends in any situation and we have memorized his words. Premier Kim also tells me often that, from generation to generation, we cannot forget—but actually it is impossible to forget—how the Chinese [Communist] Party, Chairman Mao Zedong, and the Chinese people sent the [Chinese People’s] Volunteer Army to assist us in our most difficult times. I want to say again that this was my first time meeting Chairman Mao and it was also the first time for the comrades of the delegation, and we were all very happy [to meet him]. We are the offspring of the revolution, we are still young. Chairman Mao and Premier Zhou provided us with analyses on many important issues, and they told us that we should keep [their analyses] close to heart because they have significant meaning towards our education. I am not providing pleasant words today because Premier Zhou is here with us, [rather it is because] Premier Kim often taught us that the Chinese [Communist] Party has a long history and was trained through extended periods of arduous struggle. We want to emphasize learning from the Chinese [Communist] Party—[we] learned from [you] in the past and will continue to do so in the future. [All of the above] are words from our heart. While we do have some achievements in socialist development, we cannot be proud; we need to continue to learn from China. Meeting Premier Zhou today makes [me] very content. After we came to China, our lives have become very pleasant.
Zhou: Comrade Pak’s speech is excellent. We are very moved and encouraged. On behalf of my colleagues and the government, I would like to first welcome the delegation’s visit. [On the other hand] we are sorry for coming late and receiving you late. However, we compensated for that by having met you earlier in Shenyang. I am ahead because I am still earlier than Vice Chairman Peng Zhen.
Pak: Meeting Premier Zhou in Shenyang—on the one hand, this made me content but on the other hand made me feel sorry.
Zhou: There is nothing to feel sorry about. [The meeting in Shenyang] was to show that our friendship is brotherly! Earlier, we discussed the issues of opposing revisionism, opposing imperialism, upholding the principles of Marxism-Leninism, socialist development, and [maintaining the] unity of the international proletariats. Our views are identical. This consensus [between us] is not coincidental. It has historical roots and has been tested by combat. Without talking about the far [past], we have been assisting each other ever since the old democratic revolutionary era. Chairman Mao said in Wuhan that we will not talk about these things. We have been assisting each other ever since the birth of our two parties some forty years ago, we have been through the tests of many arduous struggles, and we have been united. Since the artillery fires of the October Revolution, we had the May Fourth Movement and you also had your revolutionary movement. From that time onwards, Korean comrades have consistently taken up positions within the Chinese revolution. We often tell the Chinese people and younger comrades that the Korean comrades participated in each stage of the Chinese revolution. [This is] particularly [true with] the united anti-Japanese forces in [China’s] Northeast led by comrade Kim Il Sung; he firmly continued the struggle in high mountains. Chairman Mao often tells us to thank the Korean comrades. This time in Wuhan, Chairman Mao said it again. Comrade Pak Geum-cheol had said that in the past Premier Kim often [emphasized] the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army crossing the river to assist [North] Korea during the War to Resist America and Aid Korea. However, in this regard, the Korean people made greater sacrifice and the Chinese people only provided partial [assistance]. Mainly it is [North] Korea that assisted China: you have guarded the eastern outpost of the entire socialist camp; you have guarded northern Korea; you have guarded China’s development. We are speaking from our heart. We often say the same words to our cadres. Everyone who has been to [North] Korea or participated in the War to Resist America and Aid Korea is moved by your spirit in this arduous struggle. The exception being very few people such as Peng Dehuai and others, who conducted subversive activities, [but] everyone else has been moved. Even today, your spirit still has a very great influence within our military. Everyone who has been [to North Korea] all feel that the hard working and tough spirit of the Korean people under the leadership of Premier Kim Il Sung and the Korean Workers’ Party is worth learning from. The recent activities of modern revisionism further revealed the significance of raising the flags of anti-imperialism, anti-revisionism and concerted action. Your newspapers often deepen the education of the people by publishing anti-revisionist historical materials. This is a good measure as it helps to deepen the education of the people. Mutual economic assistance is [also] very necessary. We are fraternal countries that share the same woes; your achievements are also ours. We feel uneasy that we cannot provide many items to you on time because of the natural disasters that are affecting our agriculture. This is also the case in the area [managed by] Chief of the General Staff Luo [Ruiqing]. Military assistance also cannot be provided in a timely manner particularly for aircrafts [transfers are delayed]. Every time when Comrade Ri Ju-yeon and Comrade Kim Chang-bong come over to visit us, we always feel uneasy that we cannot provide things as promised. With our current adjustments, things will be better after recovery starts, but it will take time. We hope that you obtain victory in the struggle to obtain the Six Peaks. Comrade Premier’s direction for next year is very correct. We hope that when things become better next year, we will be able to gradually satisfy your needs. As for the welcoming we provided the [North Korean] delegation, it comes from our heart. The Chinese people, assembly, party and government all feel this way. Our reception for you is nothing compared to your reception of several hundred thousands of [Chinese People’s] volunteer soldiers. We will never forget how you passionately received the [Chinese People’s] Volunteer Army in Korea. Marshal Chen seated here has been to [North] Korea with me, Marshal He [Long], and Chief of the General Staff Luo have both been [to North Korea before]. Marshal He went twice; Comrade Deng Xiaoping and Comrade Kang Shen both went [to North Korea] before; Comrade Peng Zhen also went [to North Korea] this time. The warm reception that our five delegations received cannot be compared with our reception for you.
He Long: I first went to [North] Korea when the war had just stopped. There were not even houses, [but] the people [still] very enthusiastically welcomed us.
Zhou: We will never forget all of this, your receptions are far better than our [receptions].
Peng Zhen: All five visits were received very well.
Zhou: We cannot return the debt. One phrase, our parties are together because of history, because of revolution, and because of friendship formed through combat—we can never be separated. We will always be together through thick and thin, we will walk together towards socialism, towards communism.
(After the conversation, the Premier hosted a dinner for the delegation. After the meal, the Premier stayed to discuss the Sino-[North] Korean border issue with Ambassador Han Ik-su [Han Ik Su]. That conversation record has been organized separately)
Premier Zhou Enlai and the Delegation of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly shared views on opposing revisionism, opposing US imperialism, upholding the principles of Marxism-Leninism, socialist development, and maintaining the unity of the international proletariat. They reiterated the friendly fraternal relations between China and North Korea, in particular, they shared views on politics in Korean Peninsula and US Asian strategies.
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