[Reminiscences]Chapter 11. The Watershed of the Revolution 1. Meeting with My Comrades-in-Arms in North Manchuria > News

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북녘 | [Reminiscences]Chapter 11. The Watershed of the Revolution 1. Meeting…

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작성자 편집국 작성일20-07-12 14:21 댓글0건



[Reminiscences]Chapter 11. The Watershed of the Revolution  1. Meeting with My Comrades-in-Arms in North Manchuria




Chapter 11. The Watershed of the Revolution

1. Meeting with My Comrades-in-Arms in North Manchuria 


The people’s revolutionary army completed preparations for the second expedition to north Manchuria at the battles on Laoheishan\and at Taipinggou. The expeditionary force, which was made up of several companies rom the Wangqing\and Hunchun Regiments\and the young volunteers’ corps, left Taipinggou in late June 1935, enjoying a cordial send-off rom the people. The expeditionary force reached Barengou via Shitouhezi\and Sidaohezi,\and then tackled the tricky task of scaling the Laoyeling Mountains. Some of the guerrillas rom the Independent Regiment rom Antu were in the long, marching columns. Of all the veterans still alive, O Jin U, who belonged to the Wangqing 4th Company at the time, might well have been the only one capable of recalling the second expedition to north Manchuria. Han Hung Gwon, Jon Man Song, Pak Thae Hwa, Kim Thae Jun, Kim Ryo Jung, Ji Pyong Hak, Hwang Jong Hae, Hyon Chol, Ri Tu Chan, O Jun Ok, Jon Chol San\and others were also on that expedition, but they have passed away.

At the time of the first expedition, the Laoyeling Mountains were covered with deep snow, but on our second expedition the mountains were green with summer foliage.\whereas in October 1934 we ploughed through a snowstorm across these mountains, in June 1935 we had to climb them under a scorching sun, fighting off attacking swarms of mosquitoes. Although the biting cold\and heavy snow had been sheer torture, the burning sun\and sweat were no less unbearable.

The horses, laden with a mortar\and heavy machine-guns, struggled along the steep paths, intertwined with vines\and trees. Whenever the horses balked, we would forge ahead by cutting away the thornbush with our bayonets\and sawing away fallen trees.

While scaling the Laoyeling Mountains, the Chinese Worker-Peasant Red Army, under the command of Mao Ze-dong\and Zhu De, was successfully stepping up the historic 25,000-li Long March in China proper, breaking through the surrounding rings formed by Jiang Jie-shi’s army. After reaching River Dadu on May 30, 1935, the Red Army occupied an ancient chain bridge, called Luding Bridge, after a fierce battle,\and opened the road for tens of thousands of soldiers on the Long March. May 30 marked the day Shi Da-kai, leader of the Taiping Rebellion, attempted to cross the river; it was also the 10th anniversary of the May 30 atrocities in Shanghai. It should be noted that a daring, death-defying corps of the Red Army had crossed the Luding Bridge on this fateful day.

We were greatly encouraged by the news that they had crossed River Dadu, which arrived at Jiandao, following information on their campaign in Guizhou. After the battle at Luding Bridge, the Red Army successfully crossed Mt. Daxue, one of the most difficult obstacles in its march,\and Mt. Jiajin\and entered the Gansu Plain.

In those days we were more interested in heartening news such as the international fair, held in Brussels, the opening of the underground railway in Moscow,\and the Chinese Red Army’s progress on its Long March\and occupation of a certain place, rather than the tragic news that the Yangtze River had overflowed, leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people,\and an earthquake in Taiwan had laid waste to thousands of houses.

Our crossing of the Laoyeling Mountains constituted as great an event as the Red Army’s crossing of Mt. Daxue on the Long March. Whenever\orders were given for a break in the march, most of the exhausted men on the expedition would\drop\wherever they were\and rest. Snoring would break out here\and there. It was no easier to endure drowsiness than hunger. But no one complained at the high speed of the march\or requested a slower pace. Everyone moved exactly as their commanders\ordered. As everything about the campaign had been explained beforehand, the men knew all about the purpose of the march\and were ready to surmount whatever difficulties lay ahead.

The people’s revolutionary army could have fought anywhere in east Manchuria, south of the Laoyeling Mountains,\or in south Manchuria. Why, then did we tackle a rough march across the steep Laoyeling Mountains, for the first campaign in north Manchuria after evacuating our cradle\and home base in east Manchuria? What were the political\and military factors leading us to decide to go to north Manchuria,\where the Japanese\and puppet Manchukuo army forces were concentrated?

The principal motive was to strengthen solidarity with Korean communists active in north Manchuria\and pave the way for full-scale cooperation, joint, coordinated action with them.

Just as most of the pioneers, leaders\and standard-bearers of the communist movement in east Manchuria were Koreans, so the prime movers behind the communist movement in north Manchuria were Koreans. The core of the guerrilla movement in north Manchuria had also been made up of Korean communists.


Zhou Bao-zhong used every opportunity to speak highly of the Koreans’ painstaking efforts\and exploits for the revolution in northeast China. He said:

“In 1930 most of the secretaries of the county\and district Party committees in the northeast were Koreans. In Ningan, Boli, Tangyuan, Raohe, Baoqing, Hulin, Yilan\and other counties in north Manchuria, to say nothing of many counties in Yanbian, most of the secretaries\and members of the county Party committees were Koreans.”

One spring day, when the anti-Japanese revolution had reached its final stage, I strolled with Zhou along a sandy track near the north secret camp in the vicinity of Khabarovsk, within a hailing distance of the Amur River. Recalling with deep emotion the joint struggle we had waged in the days of the Anti-Japanese Allied Army, he said:

“One could not possibly talk about the development of the Anti-Japanese Allied Army separately rom the exploits of the Korean comrades. It’s a well-known fact that more than 90 per cent of the 2nd Corps are Koreans.... The protagonists of the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th\and 7th

Corps are Koreans—Ri Hong Gwang, Ri Tong Gwang, Choe Yong Gon, Kim Chaek, Ho Hyong Sik\and Ri Hak Man. Ever since Wei Zheng-min\and Yang Jing-yu died, you, Commander Kim Il Sung, have been fighting the Japanese for several years, as head of the 1st\and 2nd Corps. Those of us, who are responsible for the revolution in northeast China, often feel like bowing to you. We will erect a monument to the Korean martyrs in northeast China when this war is over.”

True to his words, a decision was adopted after the war by the Jilin Provincial Party Committee to build a monument in Jilin\and Yanbian area to the Korean martyrs.


The Korean people were forced to lead a dog’s life by the Japanese\and Manchurian government authorities\and landlords even in north Manchuria. The vast Song-Liao Plain\and other plains connected by wasteland in north\and south Manchuria constituted one of the world’s largest granaries, yielding tens of millions of tons of grain annually. But the poor Korean expatriates\and pioneers in this place had to suffer a shortage of food, clothing\and housing the whole year round.

At a modest party held immediately after the armistice, I saw Ri Yong Ho cry as he recalled the hunger he had suffered during his childhood in north Manchuria. He said it was experienced by his family when living in Wurenban, Sanchakou\or in Raohe, so it must have been around 1915. The family had existed one whole autumn on cabbage stems because they had no food grain. He said that it had been as sweet as honey at first, but that after three days it made him feel nauseous. Yong Ho, then a little boy, used to spit the tasteless stuff out under his knees, avoiding his parents’ eyes,\and drink only thin soup; his mother would cover her face with her skirt\and weep.

A pair of trousers made out of a rice sack was all that their poverty could afford to give him. ÷Paekmi” (Cleaned Rice—Tr.) had been stamped in large blue letters in the middle of the sack. The sack had been cut, with little attention paid to its inside\or outside, so that the letters had remained on the outside of the right trouser leg. But that didn’t bother him at all, as he did not understand the meaning of those letters. He had perceived them as a mysterious symbol of maternal love\and became attached to them. Although he put on his only pair of trousers with those mysterious letters every day, he did not taste rice throughout his boyhood, the rice signified by the letters inscribed on his trousers.


This is only one aspect of the poverty suffered by Korean expatriates in north Manchuria in those days.

In his Travelogue to South Manchuria, carried in the magazine Kaebyok (Creation—Tr.), Ri Ton Hwa had said that there were mounted bandits everywhere in Manchuria\and that they were extremely dangerous. But the mounted bandits in north Manchuria were more violent than the ones in east\and south Manchuria. They provided another source of trouble in addition to the “punitive” atrocities ceaselessly perpetrated by the Japanese\and puppet Manchukuo armies. The wild bandits regarded murder as a hobby. Every time hundreds of these bandits, armed with daggers\and shotguns, would pounce on them in packs\and commit murder, arson\and plunder, so that our compatriots had to move rom place to place rom fear\and anxiety. The bandits would take innocent people hostages\and then claim ransoms. They would take the hostages to deep mountain valleys, cut off an ear, a finger\or a toe rom each one,\and send them to the hostages’ parents, attaching notes, which explained that these were parts of their sons\and that they would kill them, if the demanded money was not sent by the required date. The families were thus forced to sell their property to save their sons.\or else, in most cases, the hostages were returned home dead.

North Manchuria was never a “paradise of righteous government”\or a world\where the “concord of five nations” flourished. Social evils\and the law of the jungle ruled the land. There, too, Koreans were no better than servants\or work animals toiling in the interests of Japanese high-ranking officials, warlords, big business, bankers\and merchants. Their cursed lot stirred the Koreans in north Manchuria in the early days to fight against the Japanese for the freedom\and independence of their fatherland.


Progressive Koreans in north Manchuria, like those in east Manchuria, initiated the communist movement all on their own. Every Korean, who was knowledgeable, clever\and sensitive, joined the communist movement. All wise Koreans believed in communism\and were totally devoted to the revolution, shouting, “Down with Japanese imperialism!”\and “Down with the landlords\and capitalists!”

The pioneers of the communist movement in north Manchuria had started preparations for armed resistance in the early 1930s against the Japanese imperialists. A training course for 200 young Koreans was\organized in Baoqing County led by Choe Yong Gon; this partly laid the foundations for the anti-Japanese guerrilla army. The training course, as indicated by its name, was a military academy, offering political\and military training to the young, who would constitute the backbone of the future revolutionary army. As I myself had done at Hwasong Uisuk School, the trainees studied history\and military tactics\and practised shooting. The course comprised 10 companies\and Choe Yong Gon was the commander\and, concurrently, the chief of general staff,\and Pak Jin U (his real name is Kim Jin U), the political commissar.

Kim Ryong Hwa, who authored the 250-mile March\and was also called “Approved Moustache”, had also worked at this course as a company commander. I think he was nicknamed “Approved Moustache” in the mid-1950s, when the anti-US war came to an end in our country. Some changes took place in our people’s life-styles following the laying of the foundations of socialism. Most notably people with moustaches, beards, long hair, shaved heads\and shorts disappeared rom the streets. The state did not pass any law, stipulating a rigid style of trousers, beards, moustaches\or hair, but such wonderful changes happened naturally.


However, only Major-General Kim Ryong Hwa, an anti-Japanese veteran\and Director of the People’s Army Arsenal, sported a moustache similar to that of An Chang Ho. Some of his comrades-in-arms advised him to shave it off. His wife\and children,\and even his superiors, “persuaded” him tenaciously, but it all fell on deaf ears. Instead he merely trimmed his moustache in front of a mirror even more enthusiastically every morning.

One day he asked me, “Premier, what do you think of my moustache?”

“I think it’s a masterpiece. How can you be Kim Ryong Hwa without it, no matter how handsome you are? I can’t picture Kim Ryong Hwa without a moustache.”

“Then you approve of my moustache?”

“Approve? It’s true that the people gave me, the Premier, great authority, but they still haven’t given me the right to rule on other people’s beards\and moustaches. It’s up to you what to do with it. If you like it, keep it, if not, shave it off.”

“Then, Premier, everything’s fine. Frankly speaking, I’ve been harassed a great deal because of my moustache. rom now on, I shall feel strong.”

He was all smiles as he left my office. However, a few months later, he was stopped, by an officer guarding the Cabinet building as he came to visit me, because of that moustache. The duty officers would not let anyone enter my office if their appearance was not clean\and hygienic. Hearing the bickering rom the entrance, I opened a window\and asked the officer what the matter was.

“I told the Major-General that he couldn’t enter, until he shaves off his moustache, but he insists that it’s an ‘approved moustache’. Is it true that you, Comrade Supreme Commander, approved his moustache?” the officer asked, casting a dubious glance at Kim Ryong Hwa.

“If that’s the trouble, don’t annoy the Major-General any longer. His moustache is inviolable.”

Since then, he has been called by his nickname, “Approved Moustache” in the army, instead of his real name.

He was married at nine,\and followed the plough at the age of eleven, playing the role of a householder; at the age of 13, as an\orderly of Hong Pom Do, he had taken part in the famous battle of Iman,\where tens of thousands of enemy soldiers were killed\or wounded. That is the kind of brilliant record this veteran soldier had.

The training course at Baoqing was\organized with only young Koreans at the beginning owing to the prevailing opinion that Korean independence could only be achieved by an army of pure Koreans,\and that chaos would reign if foreigners were in the army. However, the view that a purely Korean army would not facilitate an allied front with the Chinese nationalist anti-Japanese armed units\and that worse still they might be isolated rom the Chinese people, gradually gained weight. Consequently the\organizers of the course recruited two Chinese young men. But these two men turned coat during the training\and supplied secrets of the training course to the enemy.

The training course transferred to a place 75 miles away rom Baoqing to take shelter rom the enemy’s whirlwind arrests\and built a new building there. But it was unable to survive the enemy’s “punitive” attacks\and broke up.

Choe Yong Gon moved the base of his activities to Raohe\and\organized with Pak Jin U, Hwang Kye Hong, Kim Ryong Hwa, Kim Ji Myong\and other comrades-in-arms, another training course at a primary school in Sanyitun, involving 70 young men,\and\selected the best trainees who were well prepared politically\and militarily to\organize a special red corps (or red terrorist group). Its main mission was to liquidate the enemy’s lackeys, guard the military\and political cadres\and obtain arms. Using them as a backbone, Choe subsequently formed the Raohe Worker-Peasant Guerrilla Army.

Before\and after the\organization of the guerrilla units in Tangyuan\and Raohe, armed units led by Kim Chaek, Ho Hyong Sik, Ri Hak Man,\and Kim Hae San were formed successively in Ningan, Mishan, Boli, Zhuhe\and Weihe. This marked the start of the protracted resistance against Japan.

Kim Hae San\and Ri Kwang Rim laid the foundations of the 5th Corps with Zhou Bao-zhong,\and Kim Chaek\and Ho Hyong Sik, together with Zhang Shou-jian\and Zhao Shang-zhi,\organized the 3rd Corps; Choe Yong Gon, Ri Hak Man, Ri Yong Ho, An Yong\and Choe Il, together with Li Yan-lu, rendered meritorious service as standard-bearers, by forming the 4th\and 7th Corps.

The army song of the Korean communists could be heard almost everywhere in vast north Manchuria, covering hundreds of thousands of square kilometres rom the Laoyeling Mountains in the south to the Amur River in the north\and rom the Ussuri River in the east to the Daxingan Mountains in the west.

While Kim Chaek led the guerrilla activities, centring on the Binjiang area covering the east\and northeast of Harbin, Choe Yong Gon\and Ri Hak Man constantly raided, rom their bases on the Wanda Mountains, the enemy’s concentration villages\and supply bases.

In the second half of the 1930s, Ho Hyong Sik, in cooperation with Kim Chaek\and Ma Tok San,\organized a northwest expeditionary force and advanced to Hailun\and several other counties to establish contacts with the guerrilla units in their flank,\and made energetic attempts in this area. Kang Kon, using the Laoling Mountains as a base for his activities, attacked the enemy tactfully, operating continually in mountainous\and open areas on both sides of the River Mudan. Although young, he was quick-witted\and tireless; he rapidly developed into a promising military commander.

The fighters rom Jiandao played a great role in the development of the guerrilla movement in north Manchuria. Kim Chaek, Han Hung Gwon, Pak Kil Song, An Yong, Choe Il, Jon Chang Chol\and others, who had been fully tested\and tempered in the practical struggle in east Manchuria, became active\organizers, propagandists\and leaders in north Manchuria\and achieved a breakthrough in the difficult anti-Japanese war.

The Korean communists in north Manchuria always paid serious attention to the overall development of the revolution in east Manchuria\and engaged in unremitting efforts to establish contacts with Korean communists, active in east Manchuria. They regularly received news through various channels about east Manchuria.

Zhou Bao-zhong delivered most of the news to the comrades in north Manchuria. The messengers, who frequented Wangqing rom the 5th Corps, led by Zhou Bao-zhong\and using Ningan as its base,\and the fighters who had been sent rom the 2nd Corps to 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th\and 9th Corps, active in north Manchuria, widely publicized developments in east Manchuria.

The eastern area bureau of Jilin Province (the Eastern Area Party Committee of Jilin Province) also acted as an important propaganda centre of east Manchuria. Comrades-in-arms in north Manchuria obtained Red publications through this bureau, published in east Manchuria\and even such confidential documents as the Ten-Point Programme of the Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland. In those days the bureau operated as a switchboard, connecting east\and south Manchuria to north Manchuria\and vice versa.

Ri Yong Ho said that while head of the propaganda department of the Raohe County Party Committee, he had been to the bureau\and officially received the ten-point programme. On his return, he forwarded to his comrades all the information he had obtained at the bureau. He was extremely upset that he lost the\original document during the anti-Japanese war.

More than any other comrades-in-arms in north Manchuria, Kim Chaek\and Choe Yong Gon, widely publicized our activities. They enthusiastically explained to the soldiers of the people’s revolutionary army, to the workers\and peasants, the general line, strategy\and tactics,\and the immediate tasks I had advanced to achieve victory in the Korean revolution\and always stressed that one should learn rom our battle results\and moral traits.

When\organizing the Raohe guerrilla army, Choe Yong Gon said to the guerrillas:

“I’ve heard that the revolutionary struggle in east Manchuria is now progressing in accordance with the strategy of Commander Kim Il Sung. They say that Commander Kim is a young leader\and a favourite of the people. This is very fortunate for the white-clad nation (Korean nation— Tr.), which had suffered rom a lack of leader. I’d like to take some time off to see him, but I don’t know how I can make my wish come true.”

He had written to me on four occasions. However, all the messengers, who left north Manchuria to convey the letters to me, had been killed on the way. Only one of them, despite great difficulties, miraculously managed to get near Dunhua, the arena of our unit’s activities, but he was also killed, before fulfilling his assignment. If he had not been arrested by the enemy\and had resisted for one\or two more days, he would have met me. Then, I could have met Choe Yong Gon in some place in Jiandao\or somewhere else in north Manchuria\or in south Manchuria, the places of our activities, in the mid-1930s,\and not in 1941.

When I met Kim Chaek\and Choe Yong Gon in 1941 in Khabarovsk, I was very surprised to discover that they knew my personal history\and family background in detail. They even knew that the dimples on my cheeks\and bucktooth were targeted as distinguishing marks by Japanese secret agents, who had been hunting me for 10 years,\and that tens of thousands of yuan had been set as a reward for my head.

Just as they knew so much about me, I had also learnt a lot about them through various channels. Kim Chaek knew full well that I had received a great deal of assistance rom the Rev. Son Jong Do, while imprisoned in Jilin.\and I knew that Kim owed a lot to Ho Hon12 when behind bars in Sodaemun prison in Seoul. Such revolutionaries had experienced all sorts of hardships; their personal histories\and experiences were replete with moving, tearful stories\and fantastic episodes. The stories of the hard-working\and most courageous individuals were the most interesting to hear. What kind of topics can we expect rom loafers who eat the bread of idleness?

On his return rom north Manchuria, one messenger of our unit made his comrades-in-arms laugh, by recounting the absurd tale that Ri Hak Man, commander of the 7th Corps, had grown up on milk to the age of eleven. All of us were convulsed with laughter. The guerrillas rebuffed the tale saying that when you turned eleven, you could get married, that it was mere invention\and lie that he had taken breast milk at that age. I also considered the tale mere exaggeration.

Later on when I first met Ri Yong Ho, Ri Hak Man’s nephew, at the north secret camp in Khabarovsk, I asked him whether it was true that his uncle had been reared on the milk of his elder brother’s wife until the age of eleven. He replied in the affirmative.

“If your uncle had been reared on the milk of his elder brother’s wife, that means that he took the breast of your mother. Didn’t your uncle, a bulky man, imbibe all the milk intended for you?”

When I said this, he hastily shielded his uncle, “Not at all. I wasn’t left without. My uncle sucked only one breast. The other was mine.”

“You see: half of your food was therefore exploited by your uncle. That plunder was not a 2:8\or 3:7 system;\and yet you speak in his favour.”

Ri laughed at my joke till the tears flowed.

“Milk rom one breast was enough for me. My mother had plenty of milk. After my birth, her breasts were so swollen that she squeezed out the remaining milk after I had eaten my fill. It was painful to milk by hand\and she couldn’t squeeze all the milk out. Consequently one day my grandmother told my uncle to suck my mother’s breast. He did as he had been told. At first, he spat out what he had sucked, but he swallowed a mouthful once just for fun,\and then said that her milk was as delicious as his mother’s. He subsequently took her breast every day.”

“Your uncle had plenty of guts.”

“Yes, he was special. When my grandmother said, ‘You take all of Sok Song’s milk’, he would reply, ‘I’ll take only one breast.’ Sok Song was what I was called as a baby. He stopped taking the milk when I was two\or three years old. But he would sit in front of my mother with saliva in his mouth, whenever I drew on her breasts.”

That day Ri Yong Ho told some more anecdotes about his uncle.

I was totally fascinated by Ri Hak Man’s personality. But to my regret, he was then already dead. By the 1940s when I first met Ri Yong Ho, many people in the anti-Japanese forces in north Manchuria had been buried in the wilderness. An Yong, who had fought in several units of the Anti-Japanese Allied Army in north Manchuria, shed tears when calling out the names of his comrades-in-arms who had been buried in the wilderness of north Manchuria.

But when we scaled the Laoyeling Mountains after the battle at Taipinggou, most of them were still alive\and freely roaming the plains\and mountains in north Manchuria, destroying the enemy like an angry tiger. These comrades-in-arms were so keen to meet us. They had many unsolved problems\and had to overcome many difficulties to ensure cooperation with us. They also had to settle problems in their relations with the Comintern, Chinese communists\and people\and with the Chinese nationalist armed units. We, too, had many things we wanted to tackle with them. While in east Manchuria our heads ached, owing to the problems caused by the “Minsaengdan”. In north Manchuria they had their own problems.

This state of affairs compelled us to hasten our second march to north Manchuria. We awaited rom our comrades-in-arms in north Manchuria only the tender feelings of our compatriots. The anti-“Minsaengdan” hassle had transformed the guerrilla zones in Jiandao,\where the ethics of love\and trust prevailed, into a land devoid of all tenderness. We had felt the absence of human feelings\and had longed for them for ages in that wasteland, the human feelings which resembled an oasis. No matter how steep the Laoyeling Mountains were, they could not stop our feelings rom flowing like clouds to our friends in north Manchuria.

We also effected the second expedition to north Manchuria to consolidate the militant alliance with the Chinese communists there, an alliance established during our first expedition,\and wage a more efficient joint struggle with them as the new times required. In the mid-1930s, the imperialists, alarmed at the advance of progressive people\and socialist forces, opposed to imperialism\and war, were strengthening their international alliance against the independent forces of the world. Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy\and Japan, bent on plunging humanity into the holocaust of a world war, were hastening the formation of an anti-communist, anti-peace alliance.

In this situation, consolidation of international solidarity with the communists of all countries, especially the Chinese communists, became a matter of urgency in\order to develop the anti-Japanese revolution, as demanded by the new era. It was also the Comintern’s consistent demand that the units of the Anti-Japanese Allied Army strengthen their relations in many places of Manchuria\and destroy the enemy by combined effort\and thereby overcome the tendency for individual, isolated activities.

At that time the forces of several army corps\organized in northeast China were not uniform. There were some differences in the fighting efficiency\and preparedness of all the army corps, owing to disparities in the abilities\and qualifications of their commanding officers. Every corps fought alone, unconnected to the corps in its flanks, entrenched mostly in fixed areas. This dispersed state made it impossible for the guerrilla units operating all over Manchuria to make comprehensive use of their forces to meet the changing military\and political situation. This weakness could have engendered a piecemeal defeat of the guerrilla units operating in isolation in their fixed areas.

The guerrilla units in east, north\and south Manchuria consequently sought to establish mutual contacts. All the guerrilla units in Manchuria had to correct the outmoded method of operating in isolation, defending\limited areas in fixed guerrilla zones in the form of liberated areas\and courageously develop their military\and political activities on a broader scale, in close cooperation with one another. If they had not performed these strategic tasks, it would have proved impossible to raise the guerrilla movement in Manchuria to a higher level\or promote its unification.

The anti-“Minsaengdan” struggle had caused discord\and mistrust, which could have impeded the common struggle of Korean\and Chinese communists. If we went to north Manchuria\and cooperated efficiently with the Chinese communists, we could thoroughly dispel this awkward atmosphere.

If we continued fighting in north Manchuria for some months, Wei Zheng-min\and Yun Pyong Do, who had gone to Moscow to receive an answer rom the Comintern, would return. The meeting with Wei Zheng-min\and Yun Pyong Do was another important aim we had set for the expedition.

While crossing the Laoyeling Mountains, the soldiers of the companies, which had switched rom the puppet Manchukuo army, now operating under the Hunchun Regiment, suffered many hardships. As they were not accustomed to marching in mountains, they were already exhausted after the first two hours. On my\orders Jang Ryong San rom the Wangqing Regiment took charge of the three companies\and helped them through the march. Jang had worked mostly between Zhuanjiaolou and Sanchakou as a raftsman\and was a very strong man. Each time he wielded a bayonet, the surrounding bushes were slashed into heaps. He climbed up the steep mountain path at full speed with two\or three soldiers’ rifles\and knapsacks on his back.

And he would jokingly encourage his fellow soldiers: “Hey, all of you who can’t climb this mountain, change out of your pants into skirts\and cut off your masculinity! Immediately!”

We scaled the mountains, undergoing all kinds of hardships. But it was only in July that we managed to find with much difficulty the place near Shandongtun,\where Zhou Bao-zhong was staying. He had previously been the head of the military department of the Suining Central County Party Committee, but now the new post of commander of the 5th Corps of the Anti-Japanese Allied Army weighed on his shoulders. Several months earlier he had bent over on a stick to greet us but this time he was without a stick\and came out to Laoquangou 2.5 miles rom his secret camp\and embraced me.

Before I even asked, he excitedly told me about the situation in Ningan, “My wound has healed up completely. We’ve\organized a new corps since the departure of the expeditionary force rom east Manchuria. The Party\and mass\organizations in Ningan have been working energetically ever since. All thanks to your expeditionary force, Commander Kim, which helped us so much last year.”

“I’m relieved to hear that your wound has healed. Apparently the previous months have acted in your favour, Zhou. You’re the commander of the 5th Corps\and many other actions of yours deserve congratulations.”

That is how I congratulated him\and asked after Ping Nan-yang. As I trudged along the land of north Manchuria, I felt the feelings of friendship we had sealed in the flames of battle the previous year rise to the surface. It was indeed strange that the image of that coarse soldier had been so vividly engraved in my memory, as if he were a childhood friend of mine.

On our arrival at the camp of the 5th Corps, we discussed joint actions with Zhou Bao-zhong,\and here there was a slight friction. For Zhou had attempted to impose a course of action for the expeditionary force rom east Manchuria on Hou Guo-zhong, commander of the Hunchun Regiment, as if he was giving the\orders. Consequently the conversation between the two sides ended in deadlock. At that time, Hu Ren, political commissar of the 5th Corps, was operating in the area of Muling with his corps. Zhou wanted our expeditionary force to go to Muling\and help out Hu Ren in the fighting,\and then advance to Wuhelin to take control of that area.

It was not difficult to comply with that request. However, Hou, a man with a strong sense of dignity, flatly refused. He apparently took it for an\order, rather than a request. An Kil\and Kim Ryo Jung held the same opinion. They became angry\and said, “We have our own objectives on the course we have to follow. You have no right to\order us to do this\or that. The 5th Corps is the 5th Corps\and the 2nd Corps is the 2nd Corps.” They quite rightly lost their temper. As we had come to north Manchuria representing the 2nd Corps, we could not afford to act without discretion on the\orders of other peoples even if it was all for the joint struggle.

Zhou called it a mere adventure saying that it did not typify guerrilla warfare for a guerrilla army to carry such heavy weapons as mortars\and heavy machine-guns.

I agreed that his remark made some sense, but thought that we should wait\and see if the heavy weapons were beneficial\or not in guerrilla warfare. When we embarked on the anti-Japanese war, we defined the principle that the guerrilla army should on the whole use light weapons. However, after firing mortars\and recognizing their might in the battle of Taipinggou, I came to believe that we should not necessarily rule out the use of heavy weapons in guerrilla warfare,\and that they would be very effective in the existing situation if used properly. In fact, the partisans of the Soviet\union had used big guns\and Maxim machine-guns during their Civil War. Even though it was a partial phenomenon, some of the Chinese guerrillas were already using big guns by that time. We could see that Zhou Bao-zhong had gone a bit too far, when he had called it a mere adventure for the expeditionary force rom east Manchuria to carry mortars\and heavy machine-guns.

To ease the tense atmosphere, I proposed another talk, after giving deeper thought to the plans for joint action,\and then the adoption of measures acceptable to both sides. Zhou Bao-zhong agreed. We would therefore have sufficient time to study the detailed plans for joint action\and enable the expeditionary force, exhausted rom the march, to have a rest.

Shandongtun village was home to about 100 Chinese peasant households. The name of the place\originated rom the settlement of people rom Shandong there. To blockade this village, the enemy had kept a “punitive” force of about 200-300 soldiers almost four miles rom the village. I made contacts there with the secretary of Ningan County Party Committee\and the Party\organization in Shandongtun.

Around this time I met Li Yan-lu, the army corps commander, in Shandongtun village. At that time we were billeted on a landlord. Although a landowner, the host was a kind-hearted man,\and this made his guests try harder to help out with the household.


One day, while helping the host harvest the wheat, we were caught outside in the rain. We carefully stacked the wheat, so that the crop would not get wet rom the rain,\and went back to the house. Liu Han-xing said that we had better rest after lunch as it was raining; he himself prepared a variety of dishes for our lunch. I knew that Liu Han-xing was an exceptionally good cook rom the time Li Yan-lu’s unit was in Wangqing. It was amazing that Liu, a middle-school leaver, was so skilled that he could have dwarfed professional cooks. As well as a skilled cook, he was also, however, a heavy drinker, drinking three cups to our one. We drank wine with his dishes\and ate hand-cut wheat noodles. That day I probably drank some wine, because the side-dishes were so delicious.

While eating the noodles, there was a sudden explosion outside. We went out to find dozens of snakes killed in front of the piles of threshed wheat straw. The master of the house had looked after the snakes, believing that they brought luck, but they had been killed en masse by a grenade. The master had not touched them, even though they had crawled into the rooms\and under his dining-table. It was a superstitious custom in that area to regard a snake as a kind of sacred guardian.

That day members of the young volunteers’’ corps, who had followed our unit to north Manchuria, stood sentry in the yard. While taking sentry in turns, it stopped raining\and the sun came out. That is when the snakes, which had been in the straw piles, had poked their heads out. The guard, who did not know that people there believed snakes were sacred, had been so scared that he had picked up a hand grenade without thinking\and had flung it at the snakes.

The host\and hostess were very offended at the death of the snakes. They turned pale as if th

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