From Kim Il Sung's Reminiscences "With the Century"
With My Comrades-in-Arms of the Northeast Anti-Japanese Allied Army
During my days in the IAF I was in close contact with and in the same ranks as Zhou Bao-zhong, Zhang Shou-jian, Chai Shirong, Feng Zhong-yun
and many other comrades-in-arms of the NAJAA. A long time has passed since then, but I still remember what happened in those days.
Zhou Bao-zhong was in the most frequent contact with me of all the commanders of the NAJAA. My intimate friendship with him started in the first half of the 1930s, when we were working for a united front with the National Salvation Army in Jiandao. I worked with him on the Anti-Japanese Soldiers Committee and together we fought the Luozigou Battle. When we were in Wangqing, we conducted two expeditions to northern Manchuria and each time we carried out joint operations with Zhou Bao-zhong's unit. However, I lost contact with him after we moved the theatre of our activities to the area of Mt. Paektu and West Jiandao in the latter half of the 1930s.
"There are many roads, but one gate." Zhou Bao-zhong always quoted this maxim whenever he parted from me. This implied that, though the theatres of our activities and the courses of our struggle were different, we were sure to meet again some time, for we were both fighting against the Japanese.
When he met me just before the Khabarovsk conference, he said, "You see, Commander Kim, what did I say? Didn't I say there are many roads, but one gate?" and burst out laughing. My meeting with him moved me deeply, for it was effected after the interval of several years.
"Since I heard the news of Commander Yang's death, I've always been worried about the personal safety of my comrades in southern Manchuria. I heard the Japanese imperialists had put a large price on your head, Commander Kim, but you've admirably overcome critical moments. I know well that southern and eastern Manchuria are very dangerous theatres of war. I am delighted to see you alive and well here in Khabarovsk. I've anxiously waited for your arrival," Zhou Baozhong said with great sincerity.
He looked much older than before. His face vividly betrayed the hardships and sufferings he had undergone in the vast forests and snow-covered plains.
When I told him that he must have had a very hard time, he said, "Our hardships are nothing. They can't be compared with those experienced by our comrades in southern Manchuria. We wholeheartedly admire you for having won victory after victory without yielding to such great hardships. The people at the Comintern and commanders of the Soviet army also praise you very highly."
At this time the Comintern was hurrying to begin the meeting of the commanders of the guerrilla army in Northeast China and the representatives of the Soviet Far East Forces. Therefore, Zhou and I largely talked about matters concerning the meeting.
Zhou Bao-zhong's ideological problem was how to combine the national and international duties of the revolution, as well as independence and international solidarity in the revolutionary struggle. He eagerly desired to have contact with the Central Committee of the CPC, but he was anxious because he could not do so. It was natural that he, a member of the CPC, had taken pains for many years to develop the revolution in Northeast China under the guidance of the Party Central Committee.
Zhou always gave priority to contact with the Central Committee of the CPC and strove to achieve solidarity with the Soviet Union. This was the general attitude of the Chinese comrades fighting in Northeast China.
At one time the Comintern and the Soviet military authorities had wanted to put the NAJAA under the command of the Soviet Union. Therefore, it was understandable that Zhou Bao-zhong worried that they might try to do so again.
That day Zhou and I reached a consensus: Military and political cooperation and assistance between us and the Soviet Union were urgently needed in view of the prevailing situation. However, the specific form and method of the cooperation and assistance should be settled by properly combining the interests of the revolution in each country with those of the world revolution. In other words, they should be realized by way of maintaining the independence of the NAJAA and the KPRA.
Winding up our talk, Zhou said, "I believe that the speech of the representatives of southern Manchuria will be very important at the forthcoming negotiations. I have complete trust in you, Comrade Kim. In the days of the Anti-Japanese Soldiers Committee, too, you gave the keynote speech each time, didn't you, Commander Kim? Let us work in the future, as in the past, joining our efforts to meet the new situation." He sincerely trusted me.
Zhou defended the Soviet Union and always supported the socialist system established there. Nevertheless, he was extremely displeased with the slightest expression of chauvinism in the speech or behavior of people in that country, or in the way they dealt with matters. I told him that if he, while strictly adhering to the principle, displayed the spirit of comradely cooperation with generosity, he would be fully able to help them correct their misguided attitude and solve such knotty problems in time.
Zhou nodded and said, "You are really experienced, Commander Kim." I replied, "It's not that I am so experienced, but that you lack one type of experience. You've not shared lodgings with others as we did." To this he said, "That's right. You Korean comrades underwent great hardships in eastern Manchuria because of the 'Minsaengdan' problem."
Already when he was active in Jidong, Zhou criticized the anti-"Minsaengdan" struggle for having been conducted in an ultra-Leftist way and blamed the East Manchuria Special District Party Committee for this because, he asserted, this was due to its error. Since his days in Jiandao, he had been taking a comparatively fair attitude towards the struggle of the Korean revolutionaries.
I mentioned earlier the fact that, following our formation of the ARF, Zhou actively backed the activities of a branch of this association organized in a unit of the NAJAA under his command. This happened in December 1936. His attitude was an expression of international support for and solidarity with the Korean revolution.
Zhou's friendly attitude towards the Korean revolution can be attributed to the fact that we had helped him with sincerity from the first days of the guerrilla movement and exerted a favorable influence on him through a number of joint operations.
During the first expedition to northern Manchuria we helped him by transferring the majority of the expeditionary force to his unit. At that time we conducted a number of joint operations with our comrades in northern Manchuria.
During the second expedition to northern Manchuria we organized the joint general headquarters of the 2nd and 5th Corps and carried out large-scale joint operations. Zhou Bao-zhong was the commander, I, the political commissar and Ping Nan-yang (Li Jing-pu), the deputy commander. The six units under the general headquarters were each assigned to their respective areas of operations. Zhou Bao-zhong was in charge of the Antu unit in the west, and I took charge of the Weihe unit.
We organized a headquarters for each region, such as the headquarters of the western front and those of the central front. We attached a number of units to these headquarters and carried out joint operations in the area between Fusong and Muling.
Such were the close relations between Zhou Bao-zhong and me. Probably because of these ties, in the days of the IAF Zhou discussed with me all problems, both major and minor. Even when he had some problem to discuss with Soviet people, he first asked my opinion. When I asked why he did so, he replied that this was because he had been accustomed to listening to my advice since his days in Jiandao.
In the days of the IAF, Zhou, regardless of the differences in our ranks, always respected me as the Commander of the KPRA, the leader of the Korean revolution and the representative of the Korean side in the allied forces. We worked in concert, supporting and helping each other like the cochairmen of some organizations usually did, because we respected each other. The relations between Zhou and me were comradely and fraternal ones based on deep respect and trust.
I had a good impression of Zhou mainly because he, more than any one else, highly appreciated the exploits of the Korean communists and other Korean people who had played the role of vanguards in pioneering and developing the revolution in Northeast China. Once he said that there were two things that he could never forget. One of them was that it was Koreans who played a vanguard role in the anti-Japanese guerrilla struggle.
His attitude to the Korean revolution was clear. He regarded it as natural for the Koreans to fight for the Korean revolution, and always asserted that the revolution in Northeast China would have been inconceivable without the Koreans.
He said that the KPRA was the 2nd Corps of the NAJAA, and always extolled the alliance between the anti-Japanese armed forces of Korea and China that existed in the course of their common struggle.
Pointing out the vanguard role played by the Korean communists in the revolution in Northeast China, Zhou Bao-zhong said, "The strong guerrilla army in eastern Manchuria built in 1932 and the guerrilla armies in Panshi, Zhuhe, Mishan, Tangyuan and Raohe established in 1933 were all founded by the Korean comrades and the revolutionary masses of Korea. In later days they developed into the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th Corps of the Anti-Japanese Allied Army. There were many fine Korean comrades in the 5th Corps, too. The leading military and political cadres at various levels of all the corps of the Anti-Japanese Allied Army, such as commanders of corps, chiefs of political departments, platoon leaders and instructors, were all Korean comrades."
The following letters Zhou sent to Wang Xin-lin clearly show how much he respected and how highly he appreciated the great leader. They read in part:
"Kim Il Sung is the best military cadre ... and the finest of all the Korean comrades. He can carry Out very important activities in the southern part of Manchuria, in the eastern region of the Yalu River and in the northern area of Korea." (Zhou Bao-zhong to Wang Xin-lin, July 1, Juche 30 (1941).)
"Kim Il Sung is now the only important cadre in the 1st Route Army in southern Manchuria. After the death of Yang Jing-yu and Wei Zheng-min, Kim Il Sung alone continues to shoulder the responsibility for the leadership of the guerrilla movement in southern Manchuria and for all affairs concerning southern Manchuria as a whole." (Zhou Bao-zhong to Wang Xin-lin, September 15, Juche 30 (1941).)
What I regarded as another good thing in Zhou Bao-zhong was the fact that he always adhered to principles in the revolutionary struggle and fervently championed the revolution in his own country. He did not tolerate the tendency to subordinate the Chinese revolution to the revolution in the Soviet Union or make it the latter's appendage. He stood for solidarity with the Soviet revolution and for the defense of the Soviet Union based on proletarian internationalism, but he always maintained the independence of the Chinese revolution and its independent development.
Zhou's principled stand towards the revolution was identical with ours. My view is that the worth of a revolutionary is directly proportional to the firmness of his independent stand towards the revolution. The firmer his independent stand, the higher his prestige is. When our independence is unshakable, the revolution is ever-victorious.
In the days of the IAF, Zhou Bao-zhong always called me Commander Kim. However, when he came to Pyongyang following Korea's liberation, he never called me that. Although he asked me to call him Commander Zhou in a familiar way, as in former days, he always called me Comrade Premier.
I requested that he call me Commander Kim as before, because I was not accustomed somehow to being called Comrade Premier and also because I thought that by this we might create an unnecessary estrangement. However, each time he would stiffen his expression and say, "No, I shouldn't."
Sometimes Zhou and I argued. Once he persisted in his own opinion it was not easy to exact a concession from him, for he was so obstinate. I did not concede readily, either. Nevertheless, in the long run we would reach a consensus, regulating our assertions and supplementing one man's view with the other's opinion. In this way our friendship became firm and we came to understand each other more fully.
Zhou and I frequently had private talks, too. Zhou's main topics of conversation were his family and comrades. He had a little daughter whose name was Zhou Wei. She was born when he had already reached the age of 40, so he loved her very much. The more she frolicked, the greater was his pride in telling me about her. Each time he boasted about her, there was the pleasant smile of a happy father on his face.
Zhou and his wife, Wang Yi-zhi, served in the same unit for a long time. They were married in the thick forests of northern Manchuria.
Whenever Zhou talked about his wife and daughter, his eyes became bright. He was fond of private talks. Sometimes he advanced his opinion about the peculiar way of life of the Nanay people residing in the neighborhood of his unit or about a Russian couple in a boarding house in Khabarovsk. His powers of observation and description were admirable.
Once he told me about the cockfight holiday which was celebrated in his native village in Yunnan Province. According to him, in his home province people dressed themselves in new clothes on February 8 by the lunar calendar, and held cockfighting competitions in the streets. The people of that region adored chickens. According to a legend, their ancestors became prosperous by raising chickens. There was even a saying that they maintained their families by relying on chickens.
Zhou said that, though they could not rely on chickens to tide over the national crisis, he would be as brave as a fighting cock in repulsing the enemy.
to his obligations. He knew how to show good will to a man of good will and offer sympathy to a sympathetic man. The latter half of his life shows this clearly.
He took particular trouble with his work in the IAF for many years. He strove with devotion for the development of the Chinese revolution, but he was always faithful to his internationalist duty. If he had ignored his duty to the world revolution, attaching importance only to the revolution in his own country, or if he had remained indifferent to the latter, talking bombastically about the former, he would not have deserved lengthy recollection.
Whenever Zhou Bao-zhong dispatched small units to Northeast China to maintain a strong life-line for the guerrilla movement, I felt he was a true son of the Chinese people. And whenever I saw him striving for the friendship and solidarity of the various national units within the allied forces as well as for the defense of the Soviet Union, I realized he was a genuine internationalist fighter.
He was efficient in managing the ranks and economic life of the IAF. There were many complex problems in the allied forces, an aggregation of different national units. He was involved in almost everything, ranging from the formulation of the training programme, the guidance of the training and personnel matters to the construction of a club.
One day a deserter was a source of his worry, and another day he was bathed with sweat because of a traffic accident.
In the early days following the formation of the IAF, he had some trouble because some Soviet officers would not cooperate with him. However, the strict demands on the part of the Soviet military authorities completely changed the Soviet officers' attitudes. Zhou Bao-zhong always strove to lead his men by personal example.
When parachute training was held in Camp North, he took part in it in company with his men from the first day. One day he nearly lost his life when his parachute failed to open. Fortunately, his backup parachute opened, and he escaped with only a shoulder injury. Once some Chinese comrades requested me to advise Zhou not to parachute any more, but I did not do so for I knew too well that such advice would fall on deaf ears.
In the spring of 1951 Wang Yi-zhi, the then chief of the Women's Federation of Yunnan Province, came to see me at the Supreme Headquarters during her visit to Pyongyang as a member of a group of sympathizers. Seeing me, she shed tears, saying that she was glad to find me healthy despite the fact that I was shouldering the heavy burden of the hard-fought war. Then she said, "Bao-zhong begs you never to go to the dangerous front, but take the utmost care of your personal safety."
I was grateful to Zhou for this, so I said to Wang: "Convey my thanks to Commander Zhou upon your return, please."
Wang Yi-zhi replied, "This is Bao-zhong's request and, at the same time, mine. We Chinese are now greatly concerned about your personal safety, Comrade Premier." According to her, in the days of the JAF, too, Zhou Bao-zhong could not bring himself to go to bed and was worried about me, going in and out of his room all night, if I did not return from my small-unit activities on schedule. Our friendship transcended borders and nationalities.
The great leader parted with Zhou Bao-zhong at a new turning-point in our history, when the anti-Japanese revolution emerged victorious and the colonial rule of the Japanese imperialists was abolished. Nevertheless, fellowship and visits full of militant friendship continued between the two in later years.
In recollecting how his intimate friendship with Zhou Bao-zhong continued after liberation, the respected leader Comrade Kim Il Sung said:
After liberation I met Zhou Bao-zhong on several occasions, twice in our country and for the last time in Beijing.
Zhou paid his first visit to our country in the early spring of 1946. I met him in Namyang. At that time he was fighting against the Kuomintang reactionaries as deputy commander-in-chief of the Northeast Democratic Allied Army (NDAA) and commander of the Jirin-Liaoning military district.
As Chiang Kaisek, in his opposition to the communists, attacked the liberated area by mobilizing all the troops of the Kuomintang army, the mainland of China was again drawn into the vortex of a civil war. Saying that the situation in Northeast China was very critical, Zhou explained to me the balance of power between friend and foe as well as the military and political situation.
After the Japanese imperialists were forced out, there was a political vacuum in Manchuria for some time. Chiang Kaisek's Kuomintang and the CPC waged a fierce struggle to control this area. Both of them regarded Manchuria as a pivotal region for the seizure of the whole of Chinese territory.
The newly-formed NDAA had to fight hard against a formidable enemy as the Kuomintang, with the active backing of the United States, hurled hundreds of thousands of troops by sea, air and land into Manchuria.
Zhou Bao-zhong wanted to meet me in order to request urgent assistance to cope with this situation. It was also around that time that Mao Ze-dong sent Chen Yun to Pyongyang to request our support. Chen had for some time been chief of the organization department of the Central Committee of the CPC, and had then been appointed deputy secretary of its Northeast Bureau.
I readily promised Zhou Bao-zhong that we would help solve all the problems raised by our Chinese comrades-in-arms with regard to the operations to be conducted in Northeast China, and render them the utmost assistance. Actually, our situation in those days did not enable us to extend help to others. Nevertheless, we did not take our conditions into consideration at all. From the point of view of our revolution, too, we could not tolerate Northeast China falling under the rule of Chiang Kaisek.
In those days some 250,000 young Koreans were directly taking part in the battles to liberate Northeast China. Among them were Kang Kon, Park Rak Kwon and Choe Kwang, the finest military and political cadres of the anti-Japanese guerrilla army.
Wang Yi-zhi also visited our country on a number of occasions bringing Zhou Bao-zhong's requests concerning the operations to liberate Northeast China. Her first visit was either in the summer or autumn of 1946. At that time the NDAA unit of the Liaodong military district led by Xiao Hua attacked Anshan and Haicheng. Simultaneously with this attack, a unit of the Kuomintang army stationed in these areas rose in revolt.
Greatly startled at the news, Chiang Kaisek launched a violent offensive, threatening to annihilate the unit unless it capitulated. The unit retreated to the border between Korea and China. However, they could not move farther because the Yalu River blocked their way. Zhou Bao-zhong sent Chinese representatives to our country one after another to discuss the measures to rescue the rebel unit. Wang Yizhi also visited Ranam as one of those representatives. In the end, we allowed the unit to enter eastern Manchuria via our territory.
It was in early 1947 that I met Wang Yi-zhi in Pyongyang. On behalf of Zhou Bao-zhong, she first thanked me for helping them in various ways in the operations to liberate Northeast China. Then she said, "We have to evacuate wounded soldiers, families of soldiers and service personnel numbering over 20,000, as well as strategic materials amounting to 20,000 tons, to a safe place. To this end, we again request passage through Korean territory. We need your help, General Kim."
I readily complied with her request, and saw that relevant measures were taken immediately. Wang Yi-zhi repeatedly expressed her gratitude, saying, "All the people in Northeast China will remember your favour, General Kim."
The same day I asked Wang Yi-zhi whether she still had with her the watch Lim Chun Chu had given her as a souvenir when we parted with her in the Far East region. She said with a smile that she had given it to a man from the Soviet Union.
I could not understand why she had given away the watch she had called a symbol of friendship between Korea and China, and which she had said she would wear until her dying day.
As a matter of fact, the watch was Lim Chun Chu's favourite. The day we were leaving the training base, Zhou Bao-zhong and Wang Yizhi did not let us go easily, expressing deep regret at our parting.
That was when Lim Chun Chu gave his wristwatch to Wang Yi-zhi. At first, she was unwilling to take it, as in those days a watch was a rare treasure. I told her to take the watch, saying it would prove its worth some time in the future. Only then did Wang accept the watch.
She related how they had seized the Changehun radio station after the liberation of the city, and that she had been in charge of broadcasting and had also taken part in the transportation of weapons from time to time. She added that the watch had been of great help to her. According to her, when they were engaged in the transportation of weapons, a motor transport convoy of the Soviet army had given them a great deal of help. She said she had given the watch to the leader of the transport convoy as a souvenir.
Wang Yi-zhi said the watch had, in the final analysis, become a symbol of the militant friendship between the peoples of China, Korea and the Soviet Union.
At that time we did not let her return straightaway to Northeast China, but got her to rest for some time because she was not in good health. During her stay in Korea, she toured Moran Hill and some other places in Pyongyang.
In later days, too, Wang Yi-zhi came to Pyongyang to solve the difficult problems in the transport of strategic materials. Wang Xiao-ming and Peng Shi-lu were also staying in Pyongyang around that time. The three of them enjoyed a touching reunion as comrades-in-arms from the days of the JAF.
I think it was probably in the summer of 1947 that Zhou Bao-zhong sent Wang Yi-zhi to me again. The NDAA had killed or wounded 80,000 enemy soldiers and liberated 42 cities and towns in battles that lasted for 50 days. However, the situation at the front was still tense at that time. The officers and men of the democratic allied army had great difficulty because of a shortage of shoes. Wang said that a large number of the officers and men were marching barefoot through mud and gravelly places. She came to see me in order to solve the problem of shoes.
I gave an emergency order to all the shoe factories to discontinue the production of other shoes but make only those to be sent to our Chinese comrades-in-arms.
According to Chinese information on the operations to liberate Northeast China, our country carried, for the NDAA, materials amounting to 210,000 tons in the first seven months of Juche 36 (1947) and in the following year it transported 300,900 tons of materials.
A total of 18 NDAA units passed through Korean territory in the latter half of Juche 35 (1946), and the number of NDAA personnel who went to the base in Northeast China via Korea during the first nine months of Juche 36(1947) amounted to more than 10,000. Nearly 9,000 people crossed the Tuman River via a bridge at Namyang in Juche 37 (1948) to go to Northeast China. Moreover, a number of representatives of Chinese democratic parties, non-party representatives and those of overseas Chinese went to Harbin via Korea to take part in the new political consultative conference. It is said that the number of cadres of the CPC who passed through Korea on business was even higher.
In the autumn of 1948, immediately after the liberation of Northeast China, Zhou Bao-zhong visited our country again in the capacity of chairman of the Jirin provincial government and concurrently deputy commander-in-chief of the Northeast China military district, accompanied by Wang Yi-zhi and his daughter Zhou Wei. He paid that visit to express his gratitude to us for offering material and moral aid to them in the operations to liberate Northeast China. The large amount of flour Zhou brought with him by train at that time was part of the expression of his thanks.
I sent Zhou and his wife to Mt. Kumgang, with Kim Chaek as a guide and companion. The couple enjoyed themselves at the hot spring rest home in the mountains for some time. Upon their return from Mt. Kumgang, they expressed their delight and admiration at the autumnal tints.
Upon their return to Pyongyang, still accompanied by Kim Chaek, they visited Mangyongdae as well as the graves of my father and mother.
After that, Kim Jong Suk and I took them to visit An Kil's grave and posed with them for a souvenir photograph.
Even now, when I recollect Zhou Bao-zhong, I look back upon what happened once during the second stage of the Fatherland Liberation War. This took place when we started our temporary retreat.
One day two strange young men came to see me and gave me a letter from Zhou Bao-zhong. They were Koreans named Hyon Ju Yong and Kim Kil Ryong. They had been working as Zhou's aide and driver. respectively, since the time he took command of the operations to liberate Northeast China. Zhou had taken them with him when he was moved to the post of vice-chairman of the Yunnan provincial government. They said that at the news of the People's Army retreating. Zhou had urged them to go to Korea without delay.
In his letter, Zhou Bao-zhong wrote that although he was far away, he was always in a Korean trench in his mind and that he entrusted to me two young men, who were intelligent and had a high sense of responsibility. Zhou's letter really gave me great strength at a time when the country was undergoing a severe trial.
Friendship between revolutionary comrades is just like this. The militant friendship and comradeship we showed each other with pure hearts in Jiandao and northern Manchuria, as well as at the training base in the Far East region, could not change no matter how much time passed.
Love for comrades-in-arms is rock-solid. This is because it has been cultivated amid gun smoke and because it encourages people even to plunge into fire and sacrifice their lives for the sake of their comrades.
Being loyal to his obligations is really noble for a man. Because of loyalty man becomes a noble being, and because of faithfulness human life becomes as beautiful as a flower garden.
I met Zhou Bao-zhong for the last time during my visit to China in December 1954. At that time he was recuperating in the Jieshou Hall in the Summer Palace, because his chronic heart disease had become worse. He said Premier Zhou En-lai had ensured that he was brought to Beijing and given medical treatment there.
Upon seeing me, Zhou embraced me with tear-filled eyes. That iron man shed tears continually on that day. His mind seemed to have become very feeble, probably because he was bedridden. Nevertheless, he first inquired after my health and said that I must have had a very hard time during the three years of war.
Zhou did not discontinue literary work even on his sickbed, and left behind him a thick book entitled The Anti-Japanese Guerrilla Warfare in Northeast China and the Anti-Japanese Allied Army. He passed away in February 1964 after a prolonged illness, ten years after our meeting in the Summer Palace.
On the day when I sent a telegram of condolence, I could not bring myself to work. Unable to do anything, I recollected Zhou Bao-zhong pacing up and down my office.
In the days of the IAF I also met Chai Shi-rong again. I still vividly remember how he hugged me tightly and called me "Old Kim", "Old Kim", and rubbed his rough cheek against mine. He was about 20 years older than I, and so I asked him if, by addressing me as a senior, he intended to make me, Kim Il Sung, an old man, and exploded with laughter. To this he said, "Age doesn't matter, because you, Commander Kim, are a senior who led me to become a communist."
Chai Shi-rong's real name was Chai Zhao-sheng. He said he had been chief of a police station somewhere in Helong County before the Japanese army conquered Manchuria. When the September 18 incident occurred, he organized a small armed unit with other policemen and rose against Manchukuo and the Japanese.
I became acquainted with Chai Shi-rong in 1933, when he was commanding a unit of the National Salvation Army in the area of Wangqing. Following our success in realizing cooperation with Wu Yicheng's unit, we had gone to meet Chai Shi-rong, but did not succeed in the negotiations with him at that time. Nevertheless, in later years Chai Shi-rong allied with the communists. Eventually, he became a communist and established a close friendship with me. We jointly waged the battle of the Dongning County town and the Luozigou Battle.
In later days, Chai Shi-rong moved the theatre of his activities to northern Manchuria and became commander of the 5th Corps of the NAJAA. During our second expedition to northern Manchuria, we conducted a number of joint operations with his unit. At that time Chai Shirong was in command of the headquarters of the central front. Our joint operations were conducted in the areas of Emu and Ningan.
Respecting me as a revolutionary senior, Chai was always deferential in my presence. Whenever this happened, I felt his noble personality. After the formation of the IAF, I and Chai Shi-rong were put in command of the 1st Contingent and the 4th Contingent, respectively.
Now Chai Shi-rong has also become a man of the old times. I do not know in which year he passed away. When I look at the photo I had taken with Chai at the training base in the Far East region, I still feel deep emotions. It is a vivid picture which shows how communist ideology transformed a man.
Once Hu Zhen-yi, widow of Chai Shi-rong, visited Pyongyang with her son. She had gone to the training base after serving for some time in the 5th Corps of the NAJAA.
When gray-haired Hu Zhen-yi entered the Kumsusan Assembly Hall with her son, I pictured Chai Shi-rong in my mind.
Among my Chinese comrades-in-arms in the days of the IAF, there was also Feng Zhong-yun, who was political commissar of the 3rd Route Army of the NAJAA. Feng had been secretary of the Party branch committee of Qinghua University. He had been a teacher in Harbin for some time. After embarking upon the revolutionary road, he had been engaged in Party work in the North Manchuria Provincial Party Committee and in various counties under it. He had been imprisoned on two occasions, had been punished for an error in Party work and had twice received bullet wounds.
Feng Zhong-yun worked in the Soviet Union from the autumn of 1939 to February 1940 in order to solve the problem of military and political solidarity between the anti-Japanese guerrilla movement in Northeast China and the Soviet Union. He made great efforts to arrange the joint conference of the North Manchuria Provincial Party Committee and the Jidong Provincial Party Committee held at the beginning of the 1940s, as well as the meeting with Soviet authorities convened later.
In the days of the IAF, he had been chief of the intelligence section of the political department and had also taught politics to officers.
When he was at the training base in the Far East region, Feng ate his heart out because he did not know whether his wife and children, from whom he had parted a long time before, were alive or dead. Sometimes when he could not bring himself to sleep or when he was gloomy at the thought of them, his comrades said that they must be dead in all probability, and advised him to marry another woman and settle down.
Feng, however, flatly refused to do so even if he had to live as a widower all his life. His noble and upright qualities as a revolutionary and human being were also expressed in the fact that he steadfastly remained faithful to and loved his wife, though there was little hope of their reunion.
I still have a picture in my mind of Feng humming a forlorn Chinese love song as he took a stroll one evening.
It is said that, following China's liberation, Feng had a reunion with his wife whom he had longed for so earnestly, and lived together happily once more.
Like Zhou Bao-zhong, he always extolled the heroic struggle of the Korean people and the KPRA with feelings of deep respect and gratitude.
When he was chairman of the Songjiang provincial people's government, he wrote a book titled, Brief History of the 14-Year Struggle of the Northeast Anti-Japanese Allied Army. Following is an extract from this book:
"The predecessor of the 2nd Corps of the Anti-Japanese Allied Army was the east Manchuria guerrilla army. The East Manchuria Anti-Japanese Guerrilla Army was originally divided into four anti-Japanese guerrilla battalions?the Yanji, Wangqing, Helong and Hunchun guerrilla battalions. The majority of the population in the Jiandao area were Koreans. Hence, Koreans constituted the core of the east Manchuria guerrilla army.
"Under the command of General Kim Il Sung, a prominent national hero of Korea, this army advanced to Antu, Linjiang, Changbai and the Yalu River, and met Yang Jing-yu, commander of the 1st Corps of the Anti-Japanese Allied Army, a fraternal army.
"Moreover, under the leadership of General Kim Il Sung, they organized the Korean army for the restoration of the fatherland. They crossed the Yalu River and advanced deep into the northern area of Korea on a number of occasions to conduct operations. There they fought several bloody battles against the Japanese imperialist aggressors and secretly formed the Korean people's underground organizations of the ARF.
"After liberation, all the Korean people, young and old, men and women, unanimously welcomed General Kim Il Sung, enthusiastically shouting, 'Long live the national hero General Kim Il Sung!'"
Feng, after serving as chairman of the Songjiang provincial people's government, was consecutively head of the Beijing Library and Vice-Minister of Irrigation and Electricity in later years. When he worked as vice-minister, he frequently visited our country to discuss the problem of the common use of a power station by Korea and China.
When Feng came to our country in September 1958 as head of a delegation from the Chinese Ministry of Irrigation and Electricity, I met him at the Suphung Power Station. I still remember how, following our inspection of the facilities of the power station, we climbed the dam and, looking down upon the beautiful scenery of Lake Suphung, discussed the matter of jointly building a new power station on the Yalu and increasing cooperation between the two countries in the field of the generation of hydroelectric power.
Feng is said to have died in prison in the spring of 1968, after being persecuted on a false charge of being a Rightist during the "cultural revolution".
Xue Wen, Feng Zhong-yun's wife, visited our country in company with her children on my 80th birthday. Feng had longed for her so earnestly when he was at the training base in the Far East region.
Xue Wen had worked at the Manchurian Provincial Party Committee during the anti-Japanese war. She was of short stature and looked sincere.
According to Xue Wen, Feng Zhong-yun was rehabilitated at the end of 1977, nearly ten years after he had died in prison, and was buried at the revolutionary martyrs cemetery on Mt. Babao on the outskirts of Beijing.
When Feng's family threw themselves into my outstretched arms, with tears in their eyes, I also felt a lump in my throat, remembering the bygone days.
Feng's bereaved family visited our country on a number of occasions in later years, too. One year, during her stay in Pyongyang, Feng Yi-luo, Feng Zhong-yun's eldest daughter, was about to celebrate her 60th birthday there. Comrade Kim Jong Il sent her a table as a present on that occasion.
The militant friendship and intimacy established between Feng Zhong-yun and me are continued by our next generation.
Zhang Shou-jian, who was active as a political worker in the days of the IAF, was also a Chinese comrade-in-arms with whom I was on intimate terms. When he was in northern Manchuria, Zhang was commander of the 3rd Route Army. He was also called Li Zhao-lin. He was a close friend of Feng Zhong-yun, and he was also on familiar terms with Kim Chaek.
What was characteristic of his personality was modesty and devotion. Probably because of this we became friends at our very first meeting. I became very attached to him, for he gave prominence to his comrades when something good was achieved, and was the first to step forward whenever there was something difficult to be done.
The dossiers on the commanding officers of the guerrilla unit kept at the Comintern evaluated Zhang Shou-jian as an excellent organizer and as a brave, energetic and creative leader of the guerrilla army.
During the anti-Japanese war the soldiers of the north Manchuria guerrilla army frequently sang The Bivouacking Song, which he wrote.
After the victory in the anti-Japanese war, Zhang Shou-jian energetically shouldered heavy responsibilities as the secretary of the Songjiang district committee of the CPC and vice-chairman of Songjiang Province before he was assassinated by Kuomintang agents in Harbin. Zhou Bao-zhong, Zhang Shou-jian and Feng Zhong-yun have all passed away.
In April 1992 my old comrades-in-arms from the days of the IAF visited me and congratulated me on my 80th birthday. Among them Were Chen Lei, his wife Lee Min, and Lee Jae Dok. I treated them as honored guests.
Chen Lei had worked as the chief of the propaganda section, and chief of the political department of the 3rd Regiment, of the 6th Corps of the NAJAA. In the days of the IAF he had been a platoon leader. After liberation he was secretary of the Heilongjiang provincial committee of the CPC and governor of Heilongliang Province. It was when he was chief of the advisory committee of the Heilongjiang provincial Party committee that he visited our country leading a friendship delegation from Heilongjiang.
On my 80th birthday Chen Lei made me a present of a scroll bearing the words, Long Life and Good Health to Comrade Kim Il Sung on His 80th Birthday. On the scroll he wrote that I had led the arduous struggles against the Japanese and US imperialists to victory and built a country of bliss for the people on our land of 3,000 ri and wished me a long life along with Koryo. Chen was an accomplished calligrapher.
Lee Min presented me with a collection of 100 revolutionary songs which had been sung during the anti-Japanese war. In the days of the JAF she had worked as a broadcaster.
The peoples and revolutionaries of Korea and China have lived as friendly neighbors on either side of the Tuman and Yalu Rivers, and have fought shoulder to shoulder, sharing weal and woe for over half a century since the days of the great war against the Japanese. This valuable tradition of struggle and fraternal friendship will continue in full blossom from generation to generation.
In July Juche 83 (1994) the report of the sudden demise of the great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung spread all over the world. The news, which came like a bolt from the blue, was a devastating shock and brought untold grief to people all over the world.
Chen Lei and Lee Min immediately left Harbin by car to pay their last respects to him. When Comrade Kim Jong Il heard, from the Korean consulate general in Shenyang, that Chen Lei and his wife were coming to Korea by land, he personally took measures to receive them on the Korean side of the Amnokgang Bridge and guide them to Pyongyang. When the car provided by the North Phyongan Provincial Party Committee reached Sinanju carrrying the couple who had crossed the Yalu, another car, sent hy the respected General Kim Jong Il was waiting for them there.
After leaving Harhin, the couple had covered 1,000 kilometers in two days, but they could not bring themselves to sleep, recollecting the benevolent image of Comrade Kim Il Sung which was deeply imprinted in their minds from the days of the anti-Japanese war. When they reached where the departed was lying, it was 12 pm. Without even taking the time to smooth the wrinkles from their travel-stained clothes, they turned to him and said, shedding hot tears, "Respected Comrade President, Chen Lei and Lee Min, your comrades-in arms, have come."
The respected General Kim Jong Il met Chen Lei and his wife on the platform of the meeting in memory of Comrade Kim Il Sung.
Zhou Wei, Zhou Bao-zhong's daughter, regarded her failure to see Comrade Kim Il Sung as her lifelong regret. In October Juche 84 (1995) she presented a letter and a picture album she herself had edited, to Comrade Kim Jong Il. That album included a large number of photographs relating to Zhou Bao-zhong's life as well as many photographs showing Comrade Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Suk, heroine of the anti-Japanese struggle.
Zhou Wei's wish to visit Korea was fulfilled in the summer of Juche 85 (1996). She came to Pyongyang in great haste with her mind filled with recollections of Comrade Kim Il Sung, who had been dear to her since her childhood days at the training base in the Far East region. The first thing she did after she arrived was to visit the Kumsusan Memorial Palace.
"President Kim Il Sung, Zhou Wei has come. Can't you open your eyes just once and look at me?" she muttered to herself and shed sorrowful tears. She pledged to promote the friendship between Korea and China succeeding to the work of her father and mother.