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북녘 | [Reminiscences]Chapter 6 4. Is a Joint Operation Impossible?

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작성자 편집국 작성일20-06-14 19:50 댓글0건



[Reminiscences]Chapter 6  4. Is a Joint Operation Impossible?




4. Is a Joint Operation Impossible? 


On the route of march of the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army rom Antu to Tonghua there were many steep mountains\and deep valleys similar to those in the northern border area of Korea. The Changbai Mountains stretch rom Antu to Fusong\and the Longgang Mountains,\where there are such steep ridges as Sanchaziling\and Sandaolaoyeling, lie between Fusong\and Tonghua.

We continued our arduous march across these mountains for about a month. In the daytime we marched along mountain paths, avoiding roads within the sphere of the enemy’s observation. At night we billeted on villages inhabited by Koreans,\where we conducted ceaseless political work\and combat training.

We stayed in Fusong for a few days to work with the revolutionary\organizations there. There I met Zhang Wei-hua. He expressed his regret that our stay was short,\and entreated me to stay in Fusong for two\or three days more, even if only for the sake of our old friendship in our school days. I was not loath to do so. In Fusong hundreds of things had happened to me.

But we set out after two\or four days’ stay there as scheduled. However dear the memory of the past was to me\and however strong his kind feeling was, I had to part with him to meet Commander Ryang Se Bong, though I was sorry to do so.

The distance rom Fusong to Tonghua was said to be about

125 miles. The farther we went, the steeper the mountains seemed and the more difficult the march became. The men were all exhausted rom the long forced march across unfamiliar ridges\and valleys. They fell ill one after another. I, too, was quite exhausted by the continued march.

When the unit was near Tonghua, Cha Kwang Su unexpectedly hurried up to me\and suggested that we rest at Erdaogang for a few days before going on to Tonghua.

“We have marched for 125 miles, having refrained rom staying longer in Fusong with a bad grace. Why do you propose a rest with Tonghua so near at hand? You are not like Cha Kwang Su.” I asked. I was unable to agree to his proposal, though I guessed why he had made it.

Cha Kwang Su removed his spectacles\and began to clean them with his handkerchief before making a reply, as he usually did when he was going to insist on his opinion.

“The men are all utterly exhausted. You, too. You may deny it but you cannot deceive me. The sick men walk, supported by others. When we look so miserable, how can we meet Commander Ryang Se Bong?” he said.

“Ryang Se Bong is not so narrow-minded that he will fail to understand.”

“A commander with an appreciative eye may understand, but what about the eyes of his several hundred men? It would be bad if we were pointed at\and whispered about as a rabble, wouldn’t it? I fear that our long march over hundreds of miles might come to nothing.”

No one could refute Cha Kwang Su’s argument.

I, too, thought there was some truth in what Cha Kwang Su had said. It was fully possible that if we cut a poor figure in Tonghua, the Independence Army men would make light of the People’s Guerrilla Army. If so, our long-arranged plan for a joint operation might fail. It did not seem bad to do as Cha Kwang Su had suggested, so that we could march into Tonghua in\orderly array, full of vigour.

I\ordered the unit to stop\and camp in Erdaogang\and sent an\orderly to Commander Ryang to notify him that the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army which had left Antu to conduct a joint operation with the Independence Army had arrived\and was resting near Tonghua.

We were billeted on the village of Erdaogang waiting for the\orderly to return\and resting after our long journey.

The headquarters was at a miller’s.

The old miller\and his wife looked after me with all their hearts.

When he saw me giving a dozen of my men a political lesson on the rules of conduct necessary in working with the Independence Army, the miller reproached me for ignoring the sincere intention of the people.

He said, “An ancient sage said ‘if one speaks too much, one will lose vigour. If one rejoices too much, one will hurt feelings. If one often grows angry, one will impair one’s will.’ It is a rule for good health handed down rom olden times to think little, worry little, work little, speak little\and laugh little. If you speak much, worry much\and think much, how can you preserve your health\and prevent sickness? Moreover, you soldiers are going to liberate the country, aren’t you?”

The old man explained to me dozens of rules of health\and repeatedly stressed the need to take good care of my health in consideration of the future, since a great cause could not be achieved in a day. So I had to stop my political lecture\and entrust Cha Kwang Su with it. Listening to the old man, we learned that he was a worshipper of Ho Jun26\and that the rules of health he had explained to us were rom the Tongui Pogam (Handbook on Korean Medicine—Tr.). There was no knowing how\and\where he acquired the knowledge, but he was well versed in the regimen.

When we left Erdaogang, the old man handed Cha Kwang Su several packages of pills of dried berries rom the Chinese matrimony vine compounded with lotus pips\and honey which he had kept in oil paper,\and he said that he would be obliged if they were used to promote my health.

I politely declined his offer, for it was tonic compounded for the promotion of his own health.

“Old man, thank you for your concern, but I cannot take it. We young people will live without suffering rom infirmity\and anemia. You have failed to enjoy your life because of the various hardships you have experienced all your life. Please take the medicine\and live long so as to witness the day of Korea’s independence.”

He was somewhat offended at this\and forced the medicine on us, saying, “My days are numbered. Tonics are no good to me. You are vanguards in the fight to win Korea’s independence. If we are old trees, you are young, green trees.”

We left Erdaogang soon after the\orderly came back rom Tonghua\and conveyed the news that Commander Ryang had received my letter\and would welcome the entry of our unit into Tonghua,\and that he had told his subordinates to make good preparations to welcome the guerrillas. The men of the guerrilla army had their hair cut\and pressed their trousers during their stay in Erdaogang\and, by\order of their commanding officers, proceeded in an\orderly manner to Tonghua, marching in step\and singing revolutionary songs.

When the unit marched out onto the road, I entrusted Kim Il Ryong with leading the column\and had a discussion with Cha Kwang Su about the plan for negotiating with Ryang Se Bong. I devoted my whole mind to the work we were to conduct with the Independence Army. Although the old man of the water mill had told me that it was the rules of health to think, worry, speak\and laugh little, I could not observe such rigid rules. We had to think, care\and discuss more than anyone else since what we did was a process to create everything rom scratch\and an\original creative process of blazing a trail.

I was particularly concerned about what attitude Ryang Se Bong would take towards negotiations with the AJPGA. Cha Kwang Su was doubtful about the results of the negotiations rom the beginning, but I was optimistic.

When the streets of Tonghua came in view, a pleasant anecdote about Ryang Se Bong suddenly occurred to me. It was an anecdote my father had told me\and my mother when he, lying on his sickbed, recalled some like-minded people one by one.

On the eve of the March First Popular Uprising a project to turn dry fields into paddy fields was launched under the auspices of a mutual assistance team involving some poor peasants in Ryang Se Bong’s village. Ryang Se Bong’s family joined this team. As he knew rom common sense that paddy fields were more productive, he welcomed the project. But the old people at the upper level of the team stubbornly opposed the project on the plea that they were not sure about paddy farming. With spring sowing approaching the old people argued heatedly every day with the young people.

The young people could not break the stubbornness of the old people. When the sowing season came that year, the team planted millet\and barley in the dry field which the young people had wanted to turn into a paddy field. The old people heaved a sigh of relief, thinking it good that the farming of the team was proceeding without a hitch as before, without being interfered with by the young people.

But Ryang Se Bong, the leader of the young people, waited for an opportunity to carry out a plan he had conceived. One night in the rice-transplanting season when frogs were croaking everywhere he went out to the field with an ox\and, unnoticed, ploughed several plots that were green with millet\and barley to make them paddy fields.

The old people were surprised to see that the millet\and barley fields had been turned into paddy fields filled with water in a single night\and thundered, “Scoundrels! May you be struck by lightning! You are ruining the farming of the team. If this year’s farming fails, you shall become beggars.”

That autumn Ryang Se Bong gathered 24 sacks of rice rom the plots which had previously yielded nine sacks of millet\or barley.

Marvelling at this, the old people of the team said, “What a praiseworthy fellow Se Bong is!” rom then on the number of families engaged in rice farming began to increase drastically in Ryang Se Bong’s village\and the neighbouring villages. The old people who had lorded it over the team came to obey Ryang Se Bong meekly.

I wonder why the anecdote occurred to me with Tonghua near at hand. It is perhaps because I hoped that the negotiation with Ryang Se Bong would be successful.

Ryang Se Bong came to Xingjing County, in south Manchuria having left his birthplace, Cholsan, on the eve of the March First Popular Uprising. It was there that my father first met him.

At that time he was serving as a military inspector in Thongui-bu. After the birth of Jongui-bu he was appointed a company commander\and became a leading cadre, winning the favour of Commander O Tong Jin. His company had been stationed in Fusong. So I had met him there.

Ryang Se Bong was transferred to Xingjing County again after we had moved to Fusong rom Badaogou,\and Jang Chol Ho came to Fusong as his replacement. When Kukmin-bu came into being as a result of the merger of the three nationalist\organizations the leading cadres of the Independence Army entrusted the supreme command of the army to Ryang Se Bong who was upright, had great executive ability\and was popular with the people. He had great influence not only in military circles but also in the Korean Revolutionary Party involving the veterans of the three\organizations.

He loved me dearly as the son of his friend, always saying that Kim Hyong Jik\and he were sworn brothers. Ryang Se Bong helped me financially in Jilin, together with O Tong Jin, Son Jong Do, Jang Chol Ho, Ri Ung, Kim Sa Hon\and Hyon Muk Gwan.

After the Wangqingmen incident our feelings towards the upper level of Kukmin-bu grew worse\and I for a long time failed to meet Ryang Se Bong, the brain of the military circles of the\organization which turned reactionary, but I was convinced that Ryang Se Bong’s love of\and faith in me were constant.

All these were memories conveying to me an agreeable impression of Ryang Se Bong as a man\and a patriot. I did not awaken memories which might cast a dark shadow over our efforts to conduct a joint operation. I tried to summon up memories which would brighten the prospects for our negotiations. This might be attributed to a defensive impulse to drive away memories that were unfavourable to our prospects for the negotiations.

Twenty counties of the eastern frontier region were under the control of Yu Zhi-shan, garrison commander in the eastern peripheral territory. He had once been a general, appointed commander of the 30th army by Zhang Zuo-lin, but fell into disfavour with Zhang Xue-liang because he did a poor job of suppressing the revolt of the Broad Sword Society in June 1930. Yu Zhi-shan was the supreme ruler of the eastern peripheral territory, stationing the defence force of the strength of a brigade at strategic points in the area. After the September 18 incident he formed the public peace maintenance commission of the eastern peripheral territory\and became its chairman,\and he collaborated actively with the puppet government in Fengtian, maintaining contact with the brass hats of the Kwantung Army.

Assured by Yu Zhi-shan of his cooperation, the Kwantung Army did not throw large armed forces into the area\and entrusted the maintenance of public peace there to the independent garrison, the Manchukuo army\and police. In those days the main force of the Kwantung Army was thrown into north Manchuria.

Taking advantage of this opportunity the Liaoning people’s self-defence army led by Tang Ju -wu\and the troops of the Korean Revolutionary Army under the command of Ryang Se Bong surrounded Tonghua county town. The head, Okitsu Yoshiro,\and other Japanese officials of the Tonghua branch office of the Japanese consulate\and their families were awaiting rescue.

Although the headquarters of the Kwantung Army was informed that the lives of the Japanese in Tonghua county town were threatened, it sent there a rescue party of about one hundred policemen\and waited for help rom Yu Zhi-shan’s troops, for all its forces were in north Manchuria. Yu Zhi-shan’s troops, divided into two groups, closed in on the allied armies of Ryang Se Bong\and Tang Ju-wu rom the north\and the direction of Fengcheng.

The Kwantung Army had its chief of staff Itagaki speak by radio, “Japanese in Tonghua, reinforcements rom Fengtian will arrive tomorrow morning. Please hold out.”

So, simultaneously with the dispatch of the fact- finding commission of the League of Nations to Manchuria the armies fighting against Manchukuo\and Japan in Fengtian Province were menacing the Japanese troops of aggression\and the puppet Manchukuo troops everywhere. Morale was high in the Korean Revolutionary Army\and the self-defence army holding the Tonghua county town.

The Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army entered Tonghua county town on the evening of the 29th of June.

The Independence Army welcomed our party in grand style, putting up the slogans “Welcome to the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army!”, “Down with Japanese imperialism!”, “Let us win Korea’s independence!” throughout the streets. Several hundred men of the Independence Army\and citizens lining the street welcomed us with applause\and waved their hands. Ryang Se Bong seemed to have intended to make the entry of the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army into Tonghua a turning point in the extension\and development of the independence movement.

Our party rom Antu was divided into two groups. Conducted by the representative of the self-defence army headquarters the men of the national salvation army led by Liu Ben-cao went to the houses of Chinese people to stay,\and the men of the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army led by me were quartered in the houses of Koreans.

Even after having conducted the guerrillas to their quarters, the Independence Army soldiers remained with us. Their reaction to our unit was better than we had expected. They envied us, saying that at the news of the arrival of a guerrilla army rom Antu they had expected paupers carrying spears\and matchlocks, but ours was a gentlemanly army.

That night I visited Commander Ryang Se Bong at his home. He met me gladly. I first asked about his health\and his wife’s health\and conveyed to him my mother’s compliments.

“Mother often spoke about you, even after she had moved to Antu. Mother said to me, ‘When your father passed away, Commander Ryang\and his friends held a funeral for him\and recommended you to Hwasong Uisuk School. Don’t forget his kindness.’”

At this Ryang Se Bong said, waving his hand, “Your father\and I were sworn brothers. Don’t mention it. I shall never forget the encouragement I received rom your father. How is your mother? I heard she has been suffering much rom stomach trouble after moving to Antu.”

“Yes, she seems to be fairly far gone in her sickness. Recently she lies in bed more than she works.”

Thus our conversation began by our asking after each other’s health. I told him about the impression I had got upon entering Tonghua.

“We were all moved to tears when we saw hundreds of your men welcoming us with cheers in the street. Our hearts were light when we saw the bright faces of the Independence Army soldiers.”

“Our men are not so good at fighting, but they do not neglect to offer hospitality.”

“You are too modest. Before leaving Antu we heard that your troop had surrounded\and easily seized Tonghua county town in cooperation with Tang Ju-wu’s Liaoning people’s self-defence army.”


“That is not worth boasting about. The self-defence army is tens of thousands strong. If it cannot capture a walled town, how can it justify its existence?”

Nevertheless, he gave me a detailed account of the siege of Tonghua county town.

After thus talking with him that day, I stayed overnight in his house. I did not say why I had come\and he did not ask. I felt a little uneasy about his not asking me the aim of our expedition, but I accepted his hospitality\and renewed my hope that the negotiation would be successful.

After breakfast the next day we talked in real earnest.

Ryang Se Bong broke the ice, “As you know, now Manchuria has become a hornets’ nest. A multitude of hornets have risen to sting the uninvited guest called Japan. Tang Ju-wu, Li Chun-run, Xu Yuan-yan, Sun Xiu-yan, Wang Feng-ge, Deng Tie-me\and Wang Tong-xuen—all of them are hornets in the eastern peripheral territory. How many hornets have also risen in east\and north Manchuria! I think if we put up a good fight by pooling our efforts we will win. What do you think, Commander?”

What he said was in line with the aim of our expedition. He had expressed his desire for a joint operation of his own accord\and had taken the initiative in proposing it,\and I was grateful to him for it.

I admired his broad vision with which he viewed the independence movement rom the national viewpoint\and gladly accepted his proposal.

“I agree with you as to fighting in cooperation with each other. We came to you to discuss this matter. I think if the armed units of Korea form an alliance\and the Chinese armed units join forces with one another,\and the patriots\and peoples of Korea\and China fight in unity, we are fully capable of defeating Japanese imperialism,” I said.

Ryang Se Bong said with a smile, “If you agree, let’s discuss the matter in earnest.”

“But sir, the situation requires unity,\whereas our nation is, to our regret, not united. Neither are the communists united nor are the nationalists. The nationalists\and communists are not united with each other. How can we fight our strong enemy Japan in this way?” I asked.

“That is entirely because the Leftists are conducting a wrong policy. Since you’re also a Leftist, you must realize that. Because the Leftists pushed ahead with the struggle too vehemently, they lost the hearts of the people. They made peasants despots through a tenancy dispute\and disposed of landlords on the plea of Red May\or so. That is why the Chinese avoid Koreans. Those engaged in the communist movement are entirely to blame for it.”

This was a remark which could be heard only rom those who were disgusted with every manner of violence\organized by communists. But I did not think he had spoken thus because he was hostile to the workers\and peasants\and sympathized with the landlords\and capitalists. Before he joined the independence movement he was a poor peasant who had a hard time of it. He was a tenant farmer verging on being a debtor slave who was pestered\and harassed by a landlord for the payment of a debt at the end of the year\and a descendant of poor peasants who had miraculously survived the years of famine, living on barnyard grass gruel mixed with radish leaves.

I did not think that he denounced the violent struggle\organized by the communists because he opposed communist ideas themselves\or defended their antithesis, capitalist ideas. What he ridiculed\and criticized was the form of movement\and methods of struggle applied by some communists, not communist ideas themselves. But, the attitude\and approach to methods could not but exert an influence on the attitude\and approach to ideas. The Leftist errors committed by the early communists in the guidance of the mass movement resulted in dispelling the yearning for communism rom the minds of many people who aspired after the new trend, to our regret. Through my talks with Commander Ryang Se Bong I again realized the great harm caused by the errors of the old-time communists.

I admitted that some communists had rashly committed Leftist errors in the mass struggle. Nevertheless, I thought it necessary to rectify Ryang Se Bong’s biased view, according to which he described the whole of the mass struggle as a harmful act that destroyed national unity.

I said, “As you have said, it is a fact that the leading figures of the Korean Communist Party committed too much of a deviation in conducting the class struggle. To tell the truth we, too, suffered much because of their reckless Leftist acts. As a result, Koreans were even thought to be the stooges of the Japanese, weren’t they? However, I think it inevitable that peasants rise against landlords. As you know, having being engaged in farming for many years, how much is given to the landlord\and how much to the peasants in autumn? Because peasants find it hard to eke out a living, being deprived of what they have harvested at so much effort, there are tenant disputes as they strive to survive. They can’t be tarred with the same brush, can they?”

Commander Ryang did not respond, either because he was displeased with my arguing for the inevitability of the mass struggle\or because he took my argument to be fair.

That day the troops of the Independence Army held a meeting of welcome for the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army.


Among the men of the Independence Army there were many young people who were under the communist influence of members of the DIU\and political workers sent by us rom Liuhe\and Xingjing. The meeting of welcome was held in grand style\and an enthusiastic manner, having been arranged under the auspices of these young people. The meeting was attended by many Koreans resident in Tonghua county town.

Hosts\and guests in turn made speeches\and sang songs. During the meeting clear differences between the characters of the men of the guerrilla army\and those of the Independence Army were revealed. The Independence Army men admired the guerrillas for their free\and easy character, modesty, optimism, constancy,\and vigour, as well as for the good\order of their unit. They most envied the revolutionary songs our men sang\and our Model 38 rifles.

Some Independence Army men were puzzled\and said, “Where did such a sturdy army suddenly appear rom?”\and others said, “I hope that we reach an agreement as to a joint operation with you. What is the result of the talks with Commander Ryang?”

Commander Ryang visited the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army to inspect the soldiers I had brought. Our soldiers welcomed him warmly with applause\and a military salute. But Commander Ryang made an anti-communist speech, which changed the welcoming atmosphere into a hostile one.

He said, “To win the independence of Korea one must first of all refrain rom acts that benefit the enemy. But the communist party is now acting in the favour of the enemy. They set workers to fight with capitalists in the factory, peasants against landlords in the countryside\and, advocating sex equality, wives against their husbands within the family. They sow the seeds of discord within the nation\and set up barriers of distrust between nations, advocating expropriation\and the overthrow of oppressors on the slightest excuse.”

All our men were enraged at his speech. Cha Kwang Su turned pale\and gazed at him with reproachful eyes.

I, too, disapproved of Ryang Se Bong’s speech which was run through with anti-communism. I wondered why he made such a speech.

“Sir, we are not doing things beneficial to the enemy. We fight for the liberation of the Korean nation\and for the interests of the working people. To achieve the independence of Korea the struggle should be led by the workers, peasants\and other working people. The efforts of a few patriots\and heroes in the old fashion are not enough.”

When I made this remark, our men began to attack Kukmin-bu unanimously: Wasn’t it beneficial to the enemy for Kukmin-bu to have murdered six young patriots at Wangqingmen? How does the Kukmin-bu group dare to treat us roughly on the excuse of our so-called helping the enemy, after committing such a great crime before the nation?

Offended by this, Ryang Se Bong slandered us. He went so far in his attack on us\and so departed rom etiquette that I was astonished. The way he reproved us, losing his reason, seemed somehow strange to me. I wondered whether what I had said hurt his self-respect\and whether someone undesirous of a joint operation had spoken ill of us to him. Anyway, there must have been a reason why he was so offended.

But I talked patiently to him, saying, “Sir, why are you so offended? It will take time for you to know what we are like, won’t it? I think your men\and my guerrillas should meet each other frequently to gain a mutual understanding.”


Ryang Se Bong did not respond to this.

I returned to my quarters with a hope\and the confidence that if we persuaded him patiently we would bring him over to our side, though he was firm in his anti-communist attitude. It can be said that a lack of belief in others is a manifestation of exclusivism, while belief in others is the greatest manifestation of humanitarianism. I held that the best humanitarianism for patriots who were deprived of their country was to achieve national unity\and deliver their parents, brothers, sisters\and compatriots through the concerted efforts of the nation.

To achieve this aim I had visited Ryang Se Bong at the head of the unit which had been born just one month before.

Then on the day of the breakdown of the negotiations I was informed by a member of our\organization in Tonghua that the Independence Army was plotting to disarm the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army.

I could not believe that Ryang Se Bong had hatched the plot, but we withdrew promptly rom Tonghua as a precautionary measure. Thus I parted rom Liu Ben-cao, too.

The men of the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army were in a gloomy frame of mind when they left Tonghua to avoid a conflict with the Independence Army, having failed to reach an agreement on a joint operation against Japan which was urgently needed. Cha Kwang Su trudged at the rear of the column in silence, looking into his memo-book in which an itinerary was written.

“Comrade Kwang Su, why are you so sulky\and angry today?” I asked him with a smile, guessing his feelings.

He put the memo-book into his pocket\and said in an angry voice, “Should I smile at this time? Frankly speaking, I am furious. We came 250 miles in haste, bleeding, but it came to naught.”

“Why do you, the chief of staff, regard the negotiations with the Independence Army only as a failure?”

“So they were a success, not a failure? Anyway Commander Ryang intended not to conduct a joint operation but to disarm us, didn’t he?”

“You, the chief of staff, saw only the looks of those at the higher level,\and not those in the lower echelon. How the Independence Army soldiers admired\and envied our guerrilla army! I attach more importance to that than to a rumour about disarming us. What is important is not the looks of those at the upper level but the attitude of those in the lower echelon. In this I see the future joint operation.”

Though I said this, I had no firm confidence in the future alliance. I only expressed my presentiment\and hope.

In fact I was in mental agony. I was pained at the thought: Why is it so difficult to agree to a joint operation of the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army\and the Independence Army who are of the same nationality, while cooperation between Commander Ryang\and Tang Ju-wu\and that between Commander Yu\and us who were of different nationalities were agreed upon? Is joint operation with Commander Ryang impossible?

Whether the Independence Army had plotted to disarm us\or not remained unknown for a long time. Although I thought the information was true because it was supplied by a member of our\organization, I hoped it was groundless. Even if it was true, I had no mind to blame Commander Ryang for it. A man’s thinking has\limitations\and it takes enormous time\and experience to overcome them. Therefore, when we left Tonghua then, I did not draw a hasty conclusion that cooperation with the Independence Army was impossible.

I rather hoped that some day Commander Ryang would understand our real intention\and the time would come when he would open the door to cooperation. Patriotism can be compared to a stream flowing into a sea called alliance with communism.

Commander Choe Yun Gu of the Independence Army who defected to the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army at the head of his troops many years later wistfully recalled with me the summer of 1932. According to Commander Choe it was not Ryang Se Bong but a staff officer under him who plotted to disarm the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army. Commander Ryang wanted to agree on cooperation with the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army but the staff officer spoke ill of us behind our backs, advocating anti-communism,\and together with his trusted henchmen hatched a plot to disarm us.

Choe Yun Gu’s remark entirely cleared our suspicion of Commander Ryang. When I heard that Commander Ryang was constantly pained because of the rupture with us\and that he was not involved in the plot against us, I felt relieved. It gladdened me that I could again confirm that he was a pure patriot\and had an unstained sense of duty, though he is now dead. I am particularly happy when a man I have taken as good remains good even after decades\and my good impression of him is not impaired.

Ryang Se Bong’s error was that he had failed to see the enemy’s evil design. He was upright\and resolute, but did not know that the staff officer under him was plotting to wreck cooperation with us. Commander Ryang failed to see his ulterior design in viciously slandering us. He died regrettably because he was taken in by an enemy’s trick.


It was in his latter years that Commander Ryang Se Bong switched over rom anti-communism to an alliance with communism. The situation in the Independence Army was then very complicated. The subversive activities of the secret agents\and their corrupt henchmen became grave\and the numbers of stragglers\and deserters increased rom day to day. On the other hand, the voices calling for cooperation with the communists grew louder.

Ryang Se Bong could not ignore the communists any more. Admitting that an age of upheaval had come in which the communists had appeared as the main force of revolution in Korea\and China\and were exerting a great influence, he reviewed his attitude to communism\and in the course of this decided to cooperate with the communists.

Commander Ryang, who had failed to decide on cooperation with us, falling prey to a misunderstanding of communism\and unintentional hostility, switched over to an alliance with the communists. It was a remarkable event not only in his life but also in the history of the struggle of the Independence Army. That he abandoned anti-communism\and chose the path of cooperation with the communists can be proved by the fact that he conducted a joint operation with Yang Jing-yu. He had a mind to cooperate with us as well.

The Japanese imperialists were particularly fearful that Ryang Se Bong’s army would join hands with us. A joint operation of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army\and the Independence Army would mean the political\and military unity of communists\and nationalists in the national liberation struggle in Korea. This was a great threat to the enemy.

The Japanese military police, police\and secret service hatched a plot to murder Ryang Se Bong\and break up the Independence Army rom within. The plot was carried out by the military police in Fentian\and the Fukushima Agency under the government-general in Korea. The “flying corps of the secret service of the Kwantung Army in the eastern frontier region” also kept watch on\and shadowed Ryang Se Bong.

Over 100,000 yuan is said to have been appropriated as secret funds for the operation to murder Ryang Se Bong. Secret agents in Xingjing, including Pak Chang Hae, were enlisted in the operation.

After having worked out a scheme to lure Commander Ryang, the enemy dispatched the traitor Wang, who had cooperated with the Independe

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