SOAS University of London

Centre of Korean Studies

Sino-North Korean relations in the borderland regions in the 1940s and early 1950s

Adam Cathcart (Queen's University, Belfast)

Date: 23 November 2012Time: 5:15 PM

Finishes: 23 November 2012Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G50

Type of Event: Seminar


Sino-North Korean relations in the borderland regions in the 1940s and early 1950s
This paper examines the broad weave of interactions between the Chinese Communist Party and the nascent North Korean state during an period of extreme stress: that of the Chinese civil war (1945-1950). The paper chronicles North Korea’s aid to the Chinese revolution, including substantial logistical support within North Korea itself, violence along both sides of the frontier, and the permeable line that emerged between the Chinese Communist and North Korean security forces. Other questions taken up briefly by the paper include CCP management of education politics for the 40,000 Overseas Chinese in North Korea, Kim Il Song’s perception of the Chinese civil war, bribery and Soviet border guards, and the politics of illegal North Korean border jumpers.

The paper draws upon new documents from Chinese archives, a re-reading of captured North Korean files, and declassified CIA documents, as well as translations from neglected Chinese memoirs.  Through these sources, it is hoped that both the paper and the larger book project of which it is a part will set the stage for more informed discussion of events and relationships driving contemporary Sino-North Korean relations along the border and beyond.

Speaker Biography

Adam Cathcart is Lecturer in Asian History at Queen's University, Belfast, and editor of [with a live link if possible].  He regularly does fieldwork in the Yalu and Tumen river valleys, and writes about North Korean music.  

Contact email:

Contact Tel: 020 7898 4893/2