[Reminiscences]Chapter 18. In the Flames of the Sino-Japanese War 1. To Meet a New Situation > 새 소식

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[Reminiscences]Chapter 18. In the Flames of the Sino-Japanese War 1. To Meet a New Situation





Chapter 18. In the Flames of the Sino-Japanese War

1. To Meet a New Situation 


 Around mid-July 1937, shortly after our victorious Jiansanfeng battle, we heard the shocking news of the incident at Lugou Bridge. We had long foreseen that the September 18 incident would lead to another “September 18”,\and that the Japanese occupation of Manchuria would eventually escalate to a full-scale invasion of all of China, a land of millions of square kilometres. Nevertheless, we were stirred by the news of the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War, triggered by the Lugou Bridge incident. The officers\and men of the People’s Revolutionary Army held hot debates on future developments.

Needless to say, the point of the arguments was the question of what influence this war would have on both the international situation\and the development of the Korean revolution,\and how we should use the new situation to further our revolution.

Up until the Sino-Japanese War broke out, few of us even knew of the existence of Lugou Bridge.

Nobody could ever have imagined that the gunshot at midnight on this bridge was to become a prelude to a disaster which would drown China in a sea of blood for 3,000 days\and plunge the world into the vortex of a world war. It is the common view that fascist Germany’s attack on Poland in September 1939 was the start of World War II, but some people regard the Lugou Bridge incident, provoked by the Japanese imperialists two years before, as the ignition point of the great war.

The Sino-Japanese War, like the September 18 incident, was the product of Japan’s imperialist policy towards Asia, a policy tenaciously pursued to this culmination. When imperialist Japan swallowed up Manchuria, world opinion had already predicted that she would soon attack the rest of China. The Japanese imperialists had, in fact, concentrated all their efforts on preparing their invasion of China proper after the occupation of the three provinces in Northeast China.

The seizure of Shanhaiguan in January 1933, the inroads upon the northern part of China, the occupation of the provincial capital Chengde by Operation Rehe, the landing on Qinhuang Island, the advance towards the eastern part of Hebei Province— all these military operations took place in the years following Japan’s military occupation of Manchuria as a part of the preparations for the invasion of China itself in the near future.

The Kuomintang government of Jiang Jie-shi concluded the treacherous “Tanggu Treaty” despite the desperate people’s opposition, instead of\organizing resistance against the Japanese inroads upon North China. The treaty actually left the vast area north of the Great Wall under Japanese occupation\and placed North China under the surveillance\and control of Japan. In the long run, Jiang’s appeasement policy encouraged the aggressive ambition\and war mania on the part of the Japanese imperialists.

Through the manipulation of the Japanese imperialists, the pro-Japanese forces in North China launched a “movement for the autonomy of five provinces in North China”. As a result of this treacherous movement demanding “independence”, the pro-Japanese “Jidong anti-communist autonomous government” was fabricated.

The Japanese imperialists, who had placed Manchuria\and North China under their control step by step, formulated in early 1936 the “diplomatic policy towards China”. The main points of this policy were strict controls over the anti-Japanese movement, and economic cooperation\and joint anti-communist action on the part of China, Manchuria\and Japan. On this basis they openly prepared the invasion of China proper. The signing of the Japan-Germany “anti-communist pact” was an external factor that encouraged the preparation for another war.

The subservience of Jiang Jie-shi’s Kuomintang government to Japan\and its treacherous policy allowed the Japanese imperialists to attack China without restraint. While the destiny of the country hung in the balance because of the accelerated Japanese invasion of China proper, Jiang Jie-shi encircled\and attacked the Red Army. At the same time, he suppressed the people’s anti-Japanese national-salvation movement internally\and externally maintained the line of compromise with Japan, pursuing the submissive policy of “security at home\and concession to foreign forces”. Jiang Jie-shi’s policy of submissive cooperation with Japan was, in fact, a form of passive consent to her invasion of China, leading her to provoke the reckless incident of Lugou Bridge.

The Japanese imperialists’ full-scale invasion of China was also an inevitable consequence of the conflicts between imperialist powers rivalling for the control of China.

After the economic crisis that had started in the United States in 1937 had begun to spread across the world, the imperialist powers went mad in a battle to obtain new markets, a scramble that sharpened the contradictions between them. The most typical of these contradictions was the discord\and antagonism between the American\and British imperialists\and the Japanese imperialists in their struggle for concessions in China. The Japanese considered an all-out war against China to be the best way to gain advantage over the powers that opposed them in Europe\and America. Japan calculated that it was only through this war that she could gain a monopoly in China, drive out the US\and British forces rom the region\and become the number one power in Asia.

The American\and British policy towards Japan was one of double-dealing. They tried to restrain the reckless, aggressive moves of the Japanese imperialists on the one hand, while on the other hand they egged Japan on to aggressive acts of sacrificing the interests of China. In addition, they manipulated Japan against the Soviet\union. In this way the United States\and Britain tried to maintain their interests in China.

After the invasion of North China, the Japanese imperialists confirmed it as their basic national policy to advance towards the South Seas while continuing to pursue their policy of military build-up\and war preparation\and expanding their influence in East Asia. This was their strategy aimed at advancing to Southeast Asia in due course, while continuing with their policy of war against China\and the Soviet\union.

Taking advantage of the “noninterference policy” of the United States, Britain, France\and other imperialist countries, as well as of the lack of a firm anti-Japanese national united front in China, the Konoe Cabinet at last provoked an all-out war against China.

On July 7, 1937 the Japanese army demanded a search of Wangping county town on the excuse of looking for one of their soldiers who had gone missing during war exercises. This resulted in an armed clash. When the 29th Corps, led by Song Zhe-yuan, resisted their attack, the Japanese troops occupied Lugou Bridge\and surrounded Beijing.

As it was a small accidental clash, the Lugou Bridge incident could have been settled through negotiations in the field. However, under the pressure of the military, which was bent on finding an excuse to provoke war, the Konoe Cabinet met in council on July 11\and adopted a decision to dispatch divisions from Japan to China. It claimed to be checking the expansion of armed conflict, but in fact it used the trifling incident as an excuse for expanding the Sino-Japanese War. On August 13, the Japanese army attacked Shanghai. The gunshot on Lugou Bridge had finally accomplished its purpose in provoking the great Sino-Japanese War.

The outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War presented the Korean communists with many new tasks. We had to formulate an active strategy\and appropriate tactics to meet the sudden change in our own situation.

On hearing the news that war had broken out between China\and Japan, I meditated for several days on how this conflict would develop, how it would influence our revolution\and what attitude\and methods we should adopt to cope with it.

It was not a local war that would end with the occupation of North China by the Japanese imperialists, nor would it be a quick decision to be made in a few months, as the Manchurian incident had been. This war had every reason to drag out\and could possibly develop, first into a regional war, then into a global war.

Most certainly conflicts between Japan\and the Soviet\union would be inevitable. Historically, Korea\and Manchuria had been a major area of contention between Russia\and Japan. It was mainly for this reason that the Russo-Japanese War had broken out early in this century. Even after the birth of the Soviet\union, relations between the Soviet\union\and Japan remained tense owing to Japan’s ambitions on the continent. On the eve of the Sino-Japanese War, the Soviet\union\and Japan had been in a hair-trigger confrontation over the possession of two islands on the River Amur. Although the dispute had been settled through direct diplomatic negotiations in Moscow, in subsequent years Japan continued to confront the Soviet\union with a hard-line policy on the pretext of a Japan-Manchuria joint defence.


It was not surprising that most world opinion predicted a big war as a result of this dispute between the Soviet\union\and Japan. It was no secret that the Japanese imperialists were determined to invade China proper, Mongolia\and the far eastern regions of the Soviet\union after occupying Manchuria, but apparently Japan considered that the time was not ripe for an all-out war against the Soviet\union. Japan was secretly afraid of the ever-strengthening national power\and defence capabilities of the Soviet\union. Nothing would be more dangerous\and foolish for Japan than to start a war against the Soviet\union while fighting with China, since she was incapable of fighting two major powers simultaneously.

Many of my men\and officers were of the opinion that the escalation of the war would affect our revolution badly.

I felt it imperative to lay down a strategic policy to cope with the Sino-Japanese War,\and to fight with a distinct objective. A meeting of the commanding officers of the main force of the KPRA, held in the Paektusan Secret Camp in mid-July 1937,\and another meeting of military\and political cadres, held at Caoshuitan, Changbai County, in early August that year laid down such a policy. At these meetings we set forth the strategic policies on strengthening the anti-Japanese armed struggle to deal with our own rapidly changing situation\and on effecting a fresh upsurge in the Korean revolution as a whole. Also present at the meeting, held in the Paektusan Secret Camp, were Ma Tong Hui, Ri Je Sun\and other political operatives\and heads of underground\organizations who had been active in the Mt. Paektu area\and the homeland.

At the meeting we discussed, in essence, the task of consolidating our own revolutionary forces, harassing the enemy more intensively rom behind\and speeding up the preparations for an all-people resistance to cope with the Sino-Japanese War.


As one of the major ways to carry out this task, we proposed\and discussed in earnest forming more underground\organizations in the southwestern area of Mt. Paektu\and in the homeland\and sending political workers’ groups of the KPRA to Rangnim mountains to build revolutionary bases\and\organize paramilitary corps\and workers’ shock troops in various parts of the homeland. We also took stock of the work of building up party\and ARF subordinate\organizations, conducting political campaigns among the people\and enlisting support for the guerrilla army in Sinpha\and Xiagangqu, Changbai County,\and discussed measures to popularize the experience in this work.

In those days, Japan considered herself one of the five world powers\and one of the three naval powers. Major powers, too, saw Japan in the same light. However, we thought that Japan would most likely fall into a dangerous trap.

We firmly believed that the Japanese imperialists would be destroyed ultimately, despite the fact that they were gaining temporary superiority by taking advantage of the lack of concerted action on the part of resistance forces in China. An unjust war always involves internal strife. The contradictions between forces for\and against war on their home front, as well as the contradictions between imperialist powers were tangible factors which put a brake on their war efforts.

The Japanese imperialists were isolated in the international arena. They had such allies as Germany\and Italy in Europe, but they were not in a position to receive substantial help rom them. If they escalated the Sino-Japanese War\and “advanced southwards”, it would inevitably intensify the contradictions\and confrontation between the imperialist powers.

The Japanese imperialists in their mad pursuit of wealth\and expansion swallowed up Manchuria,\and before giving themselves time to digest it, attacked the rest of China, blind in their greed. But they were like a cat trying to chew\and swallow an entire ox-head: there was no guarantee they would not end up with serious indigestion.

As soon as they had provoked the Sino-Japanese War, the Japanese imperialists tightened their colonial rule in Korea to its tautest. All sorts of fascist laws were enacted to shackle the people both spiritually\and physically. The “Military Secrets Act”, which had been enforced in 1913, was amended for the worse to meet wartime needs. The enemy made everything subservient to war, fussing about “the special mission of Korea as a base for war supplies”\and “the task of Korea in carrying out the continental policy”.

The Japanese imperialists’ plunder of Korea was not\limited to the economic sphere; they plundered Korea of her manpower, too. They coned young men\and threw them into the battlefields\and mobilized a huge work force, compelling it to build munitions factories\and military facilities. Their fascist repression\and economic plunder, which with the start of the Sino-Japanese War grew more oppressive\and ferocious than ever before, stifled the Korean people beyond endurance.

Nonetheless, even in such unfavourable conditions we believed that we could transform misfortune into a blessing by turning the complicated situation to good account.

At the meeting of military\and political cadres held in Caoshuitan I viewed the situation rom this angle\and emphasized the need to deal with it rom this point of view. The meeting on Mt. Paektu dealt with the task of strengthening the driving force of the Korean revolution rom the point of view of building\organization,\whereas the Caoshuitan meeting approached the task of harassing the enemy rom the rear rom the military angle, centring on cooperation with other units of the Anti-Japanese Allied Army.


At this meeting, I also emphasized the need to strike the enemy harder rom behind in the vast area along the Rivers Tuman\and Amnok,\and the need to dispatch more small units\and political operatives to the homeland to continuously expand\and strengthen the anti-Japanese national united front movement.

We decided to harass the enemy rom the rear in two main ways. One was to build secret camps in the Rangnim mountains, lay the military foundation for the all-people resistance by\organizing paramilitary corps\and workers’ shock troops in all parts of Korea,\and strike the Japanese imperialists rom behind through various forms of mass struggle in the homeland. The other was to check the movement of the Japanese aggressors into China proper\and frustrate their operations by guerrilla warfare.

According to this new strategic policy, the Caoshuitan meeting partially reorganized the KPRA units\and allotted the fields of action to the units in a realistic way. We also discussed the small armed\and political groups we would be sending to the homeland.

After provoking the Sino-Japanese War, the enemy kept a watchful eye on our every move. The top brass of the Japanese army\and police somehow got wind of our decision\and said that we had set forth a new policy of action, regrouped our forces,\and allotted our areas of action. They also said that we had decided to attack major cities in Manchuria on August 29, the day of the national humiliation,\and make an all-out push into the homeland. They made a great noise of working out countermeasures. Later, we found that all this was recorded in detail in secret documents of the enemy.

Before going again to Changbai\and Linjiang Counties after the Gaoshuitan meeting, I met Wei Zheng-min to discuss joint operations with the Northeast Anti-Japanese Allied Army in harassing the enemy rom the rear. At that time he was recuperating in the Dongmanjiang Secret Camp on the River Huapi along upper reaches of the River Man.


That day, Ju Jae Il, the political instructor of a company, guided my party to the Dongmanjiang Secret Camp. He was familiar with the geography of the east Manjiang area. He was born in Kangwon Province, but had lived in Helong since his childhood\and joined the guerrilla army in Yulangcun. When the guerrilla zones were evacuated, six families moved to Caoshuitan rom Helong, one of them being Ju’s. He worked in a Chinese anti-Japanese nationalist unit before coming to our Headquarters in March 1937 with his wife. At that time we appointed him the political instructor of a company in which there were many Chinese soldiers rom the Chinese anti-Japanese nationalist forces, because he spoke Chinese fluently\and knew Chinese customs well. Afterwards he worked as the political instructor of the Guard Company\and was promoted to the rank of the regimental political commissar. He took us safely to our destination.

In Wei Zheng-min’s opinion, it was most important, while the Sino-Japanese War was spreading, that cooperation between the communists\and people of Korea\and China be improved as much as possible.

“We expect a great deal rom our cooperation with our Korean comrades\and people,” he said earnestly. “You have helped the Chinese revolution sincerely\and selflessly. Whenever I hear the words proletarian internationalism, I think of Korean comrades first. Our days together in the same trenches will be remembered for ever not only in the history of our two countries but also in the history of the international communist movement. Commander Kim, the Chinese nation is now facing the same trials as the Korean nation has experienced. I firmly believe that in this difficult time the Korean people will stand firmly on our side.”

Wei Zheng-min, political commissar of the 2nd Corps\and secretary of the South Manchuria Party Committee, was an openhearted man.

As the struggle to correct the ultra-Leftist errors of the anti-“Minsaengdan” campaign showed, Wei had made sincere efforts to sympathize more than anyone else with the Korean communists in their afflictions\and agony. I had respected him for his sympathy with the Korean people\and his help in the struggle of the Korean communists. He, too, approached me with unusual affection\and friendship.

Wei Zheng-min always held in high esteem the role of the Korean communists\and the KPRA in the anti-Japanese armed struggle in Northeast China.

That day Wei Zheng-min informed me in detail of the internal\and external situation of China after the start of the Sino-Japanese War\and the policy of the Chinese Communist Party on the war against Japan. Most interesting in his information was the move by the Chinese communists\and progressive patriots to form a new Kuomintang-Communist Cooperation, as well as an anti-Japanese national united front.

The day after the Lugou Bridge incident, which was also called the July 7 incident, the Chinese Communist Party appealed to the entire nation to “resist the Japanese aggression by building a strong wall in the form of the national united front”. They pointed out that an anti-Japanese war involving the entire Chinese nation was the only way to save the country. On July 15, they sent the “Declaration of the Chinese Communist Party on the Promulgation of Kuomintang-Communist Cooperation” to the Kuomintang leadership.

That was not the first time the CCP had appealed to the Kuomintang to stop the civil war\and form a Kuomintang-Communist cooperation front.

Although the Japanese imperialists were directing the spearhead of their aggression on China proper following the occupation of Manchuria, Jiang Jie-shi’s Kuomintang was too busy making frantic efforts to destroy the communist party\and “suppress” the Worker-Peasant Red Army, instead of taking positive action for resistance against Japan.

Jiang Jie-shi mobilized a large armed force to destroy the Central Soviet in Ruijin\and conducted five large-scale “punitive” operations. The Kuomintang was more hostile to the communist party than to the foreign enemy.

Until then, the CCP was unable to concentrate its efforts on the anti-Japanese struggle; its main effort was directed toward the land revolution\and the fight against the Kuomintang.

When a foreign enemy attacks a country, which is in a civil war, the country must stop internal conflicts\and pool its national efforts\and offer resistance. Until the mid-1930s, however, China did not end its internal problems of the war, which was known as the Second Revolutionary Civil War.

Afterwards the CCP adopted a new strategy of fighting the Japanese first, in keeping with the general trend. The Chinese communists carried out the Long March covering 10,000 kilometres under the slogan “advance north to resist Japan”\and established new bases in Shanxi, Gansu\and Ningxia. This was followed by their direct confrontation with the Japanese imperialists, based on the policy of “expedition to the east against Japan”.

Following this, the CCP changed its slogan rom “resisting Japan while opposing Jiang” to “resisting Japan in alliance with Jiang”,\and made patient efforts to put into effect Kuomintang-Communist Cooperation. Such efforts by the Chinese communists were redoubled after the Xian incident19\and at last produced good results in the talks between Jiang Jie-shi\and Zhou En-lai held in Lushan after the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War.


When Wei Zheng-min told me that in the Lushan talks, Zhou En-lai negotiated with Jiang Jie-shi on the need to activate the anti-Japanese struggle of the communists in Manchuria, North China\and Korea, I was greatly pleased. It meant that the CCP leadership rightly evaluated the position held by the Korean communists in carrying out the anti-Japanese war,\and eagerly desired positive support rom,\and cooperation with, the armed struggle led by the Korean communists.

Mao Ze-dong, in a letter he wrote early in 1937 to members of the National-Salvation Association of China, carried in The Pacific, an international political\and theoretical magazine of the Soviet\union, took the anti-Japanese guerrilla warfare in Northeast China as a living example of the possibility of active resistance to Japanese imperialism. He wrote that the anti-Japanese guerrilla army in Northeast China destroyed over 100,000 enemy troops\and inflicted a loss of hundreds of millions of yuan, thereby checking\and delaying the Japanese invasion of China. This evaluation of the guerrilla army in Northeast China included the appreciation of the struggle made by the Korean communists.

Wei Zheng-min\and I were of the same opinion that the anti-Japanese guerrilla units in eastern\and southern Manchuria should take a heavier burden than those in northern Manchuria in harassing the enemy rom behind, because the Japanese imperialists were trying to conquer all of China before attacking Siberia.

During the talks Wei Zheng-min said that a man rom Kong Xian-yong had come via the Soviet\union to see the leaders of the 2nd Army in the capacity of a secret messenger rom the Nanjing government. He asked me whether I wanted to see him. The arrival of the messenger in Manchuria showed that the Kuomintang government was trying in every way to realize cooperation with the anti-Japanese forces in Northeast China. Kong Xian-yong had been on intimate terms with us when he

was a deputy commander of Wang De-lin’s national salvation army. Later he had also helped us raise the People’s Revolutionary Army. At an invitation rom the Headquarters of the Far East Army of the Soviet\union he had visited the Soviet\union with some of his men\and then entered China. His activity there was noteworthy. Together with Li Du\and Wang De-lin, he was deeply concerned about the anti-Japanese struggle in Manchuria while keeping contacts with the Nanjing government\and Zhang Xue-liang’s former northeast army. After his appointment as Commander-in-Chief of the Northeast Volunteers Army he kept in touch with the Nanjing government\and occasionally\organized outside support for the anti-Japanese movement in Northeast China. The fact that he sent his messenger to us on behalf of the Nanjing government showed that he was still keen on the anti-Japanese armed struggle in Manchuria.

The messenger, like Kong Xian-yong, had also once taken part in the anti-Japanese struggle in eastern Manchuria. After emphasizing the need to link the struggle in the northeast region with the struggle in China proper, the messenger explained the desirability of including the armed forces of the northeast region in the general operations plan of the Nanjing government, since as a result of the Kuomintang-Communist Cooperation the Worker-Peasant Red Army, led by the CCP, would be reorganized as a part of the National Revolutionary Army under Jiang Jie-shi’s unified control.

I expressed doubt about his proposal, giving details of the differences in the situation in China proper\and in Northeast China\and explaining the relatively independent character of the anti-Japanese armed struggle in the northeast region.


The messenger admitted that our view was correct\and withdrew his proposal. Nevertheless, he laid stress on our need to support\and cooperate closely with each other, not forgetting inseparable ties between the northeast region\and the rest of China.

We promised to strike the Japanese imperialists hard in the three provinces of Northeast China\and Korea to help the struggle in China proper. The messenger said that when he was passing through the Soviet\union, he had consulted concerned people there on the treatment of those wounded in the Sino-Japanese War\and that they had promised to help. He added that we, too, could send the wounded through the designated route, if necessary. I accepted his favour\and promised to use their route in future, though we had our own route\and had already sent some old\and infirm persons to the Soviet\union.

My talk with Wei Zheng-min confirmed that we\and the CCP had basically the same view on the strategy in relation to the Sino-Japanese War. I was convinced that we would be greatly successful in harassment operations behind enemy lines against the Japanese imperialists.

After taking leave of Wei Zheng-min, we convened the meeting of the commanders\and men of the KPRA on a hill located on the boundary between Changbai\and Linjiang Counties.

I still remember that there was a deep vertical pit resembling a well not far rom the meeting place. When a mischief-maker\dropped a stone into the pit, there was a plop after a good while. It was mysterious that such a pit should have formed between the rocks on a high mountain ridge.

At this meeting we discussed the strategic task of the KPRA to cope with the Sino-Japanese War. The men\and officers declared their determination to carry out the task. It might have been called a “meeting to express resolves”, as we call it nowadays. You may say that this was a meeting to express our determination to implement the decision made at the meetings in the Paektusan Secret Camp\and Caoshuitan.

I shall not dwell on the meeting, because specialists in revolutionary history\and writers have already published many articles on it\and the revolutionary veterans themselves have given their recollections of it on many occasions.

The Paektusan meeting, the Caoshuitan meeting\and the meeting of men\and officers were significant in that they laid down our political\and military plans to cope with the Sino-Japanese War.

From the start of this war, we conducted daring operations to harass the enemy rom behind, while consolidating the victory of our advance to the homeland.

Immediately after the Lugou Bridge incident, the main force of the KPRA fought many battles. These included the battle near Mashungou in Shijiudaogou, Changbai; the raid on Xigang town in Shisandaogou, Changbai County;\and the battle in the vicinity of Liujiadong, Longquanli.

At that time it was written in Jondo, the mouthpiece of the National Revolutionary Party, that our operations behind enemy lines were certainly the initiative of the great allied front of the Korean\and Chinese nations.

Having left Changbai to harass the enemy in the rear, Choe Hyon’s unit achieved successive battle results, moving through Linjiang, Tonghua, Liuhe,\and Mengjiang. An Kil\and Pak Jang Chun destroyed the enemy mercilessly in cooperation with Kang Kon’s unit. The expedition to Hailun, led by Kim Chaek\and Ho Hyong Sik\and south Manchurian guerrilla units, which advanced as far as the Shenyang railway, dealt a heavy blow to the enemy rear. Our small armed units\and political operatives’ groups infiltrated deep into the homeland\and tied the enemy’s hands wherever they went. The political\and military operations launched by the Korean\and Chinese communists in Korea\and Manchuria,\and their harassment behind enemy lines gave great encouragement to the anti-Japanese camp in China.

The Japanese imperialists’ wild ambition to swallow up China at a gulp was totally frustrated by the Chinese people’s struggle in North China\and the Shanghai area, as well as by the active operations of the KPRA\and the Northeast Anti-Japanese Allied Army to harass the enemy rom behind.

While Japan was switching over to a protracted war rom her initial attempt to gain “victory at a blow”\and to “finish the war in a short time”—their blatant claims—our operations behind their lines entered a new stage.

With the prolongation of the Sino-Japanese War, we held a review at the Xintaizi Secret Camp, Linjiang County, of the operations we had carried out in the enemy rear. We discussed how to harass the enemy in Korea\and frustrate their war transport system, the transport of weapons\and ammunition in particular. Our attack on Huinan county town was a typical battle in those days.

The attack on Huinan was very unfavourable for us, as Huinan was a well-developed traffic junction\and a walled town on a flat plain. The Jilin-Hailun railway line was not far. There were also many enemy “punitive” troops based near Huinan,\and we were in danger of being chased by reinforced units of the enemy if we failed to withdraw quickly, even though we might have successfully attacked the county town. We were aware of all these disadvantages to launching an attack on Huinan. We nevertheless committed to this battle the 7th Regiment of the main force of the KPRA, the newly-organized Guard Regiment, led by Ri Tong Hak\and Choe Chun Guk,\and part of the 4th Division. Despite the risks involved, the county town was a suitable target for our harassment actions behind enemy lines: Huinan was an important base of “punitive” troops, as well as a supply base for the Manchukuo army units stationed in many adjoining counties. There were two large supply depots.

The Anti-Japanese Allied Army units\and the Chinese anti-Japanese nationalist units took part in this attack. Our forces made a surprise attack on the town\and captured a good supply of fabrics, raw cotton\and food, before withdrawing on our own initiative. Following the attack on the town, our forces dealt another blow to the reinforcements of the Japanese troops\and the puppet Manchukuo army coming rom Hailong, Panshi, Mengjiang\and other areas. The ambush laid by our main force at a place between Fusong\and Xigang was of great significance to the harassment operations.

During the harassment campaign we unfortunately lost several valuable comrades-in-arms such as Ri Tal Gyong, Kim Yong Hwan\and Jon Chol San.

Kim Yong Hwan had joined the guerrilla army after working in the Young Communist League in Wangqing. In the days of the guerrilla zone, we had appointed him as a company political instructor for the Yanji guerrilla army. In December 1937, he fell heroically in battle in Yanji.

Jon Chol San came rom the Hunchun guerrilla army. I had met him first when we fought the battle at Laoheishan. Later he was promoted to the position of political instructor for the 4th Company of the Wangqing guerrilla army. O Jin U knew him well. He fell in action in Emu in September 1937.

In those days we also lost Ri Tong Gwang, an able political worker\and a courageous commander of the guerrilla army, who had been working as the representative of the ARF in southern Manchuria.

Yang Jing-yu told me the following anecdote about Ri:


On receiving the report that the Tonghwa Central County Party Committee had been broken by the enemy’s “punitive” operation in southern Manchuria, Ri Tong Gwang went to Liuhe via Gushanzi,\where the headquarters of the enemy’s “punitive” force was situated. Disguised as a medicine-peddler he\and his two bodyguards entered Gushanzi Street, which was swarming with enemy soldiers, in broad daylight. There was a public notice in every lane demanding the arrest of Ri Tong Gwang.

“Ri Tong Gwang, the boss of the communist bandits rom the South Manchuria Special Party Committee, 30 years old. A tall man with wavy hair\and uncommonly big eyes. Those who inform against him\or arrest him will be liberally rewarded. Whoever hides him will be put to death.”

Ri Tong Gwang stood in front of the public notice about his arrest with calm composure\and read it through, then left the street without haste.

The lives of Ri Tong Gwang, Ri Tal Gyong, Kim Thaek Hwan, Kim Yong Hwan\and Jon Chol San were a brilliant example of boundless love\and devotion for their fatherland\and people\and in this glorious path they enriched the history of the armed struggle with their blood. They typify the will\and soul of those Korean communists who took initiative in striking at the enemy rom behind.

I can say that the general direction I have followed through life has been not defence, but attack. Since I set out on the road of revolution I have continued to use the strategy\and tactic of offence, always counter-attacking the enemy. When faced with difficulties in my advance, I have never flinched back\or vacillated, nor have I gone round them\or tried to escape them. The harder the times, the stronger has been my faith. I have overcome obstacles by displaying an indomitable will\and making a strenuous effort.


The offensive strategies we used at many stages of our revolution were not attributable to my personal taste\or character; they were necessities of our complex\and arduous revolution.

Had we been on the defensive,\or had we retreated\or used detours in the vortex of complicated, world-shaking events after the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War, we would never have been able to break through the many grave situations we faced.

I still believe that the revolutionary strategy we established at that time—the strategy of meeting adversity face to face\and turning a bad situation into one that was favourable to us—was absolutely the correct one.

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