On October 6, 1949, China and the DPRK established diplomatic relations, so the DPRK became one of the first groups of countries having diplomatic relations with new China. In June 1950, the Korean War broke out. When the Chinese people were confronted with the menace of the war after the US army crossed the 38th parallel and flames of the war spread to the bank of the Yalu River, the China-DPRK border, China sent its volunteer army at the request of the DPRK side to join the war. After the armistice, China actively assisted the DPRK in its post-war economic restoration and reconstruction. In November, 1953, the two countries signed the agreement on economic and cultural cooperation. On July 11, 1961, they signed the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between China and the DPRK .
I. Political Relations and Exchanges of High-level Visits
China and the DPRK have always maintained their traditional friendship and cooperation, and their party and state leaders frequently contact. The DPRK leader Kim Il Sung visited China dozens of times while Chinese leaders Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping also visited the DPRK many times. Since 1990, General Secretary Jiang Zemin, Premier Li Peng, President Yang Shangkun, the Chinese Party and Government Delegation headed by Standing Committee Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CPC and Secretary of its Secretariat Hu Jintao and State Councilor and Defence Minister Chi Haotian, Chinese Goodwill Delegation led by State Councilor and Secretary-General of the State Council Luo Gan and Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan have visited the DPRK respectively. President Kim Il Sung, Premier Yon Hyung Muk, Vice-President Li Jong Ok, Political Bureau Member of the WPK Central Committee and Chief of General Staff Choe Gwang, Vice-Premiers Hong Song Nam, Kim Yoon Hyuk, President of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly Kim Yong Nam, Vice-President Yang Hyung Sup,and Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun have visited China. General Secretary Kim Jong Il paid two successive visits to China.
In June 1999, leading a DPRK national delegation, Kim Yong Nam, President of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly, paid an official goodwill visit to China. In the same year, both sides jointly celebrated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of China-DPRK diplomatic relations, and at the invitation of DPRK Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun, Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan paid a goodwill visit to the DPRK and attended the celebrations. On March 5, 2000, General Secretary of the WPK visited the Chinese embassy in the DPRK. From 29 to 31 May, at the invitation of General Secretary Jiang Zemin, General Secretary Kim Jong Il paid an unofficial visit to China. On October 9, at the invitation of the DPRK side, President Jiang Zemin attended the dinner party hosted by the DPRK embassy in China to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the WPK. On October 25, a mass meeting of 180,000 people was held in Pyongyang, auspiciously marking the 50th anniversary of the Chinese Volunteers joining the DPRK army in denfending the country, and those present were General Secretary Kim Jong Il and other major DPRK party, government and military leaders. Heading a high-ranking Chinese military delegation, Vice-Chairman of the central Military Commission, State Councilor and Defence Minister Chi Haotian paid an official goodwill visit to the DPRK and participated in the celebrations hosted by the DPRK side.
Between 15 and 20 January 2001, at the invitation of General Secretary Jiang Zemin, General Secretary Kim Jong Il paid another unofficial visit to China. General Secretary Jiang held talks with General Secretary Kim in Beijing, exchanged views on further development of the party and state relations between the two countries as well as major international issues of common concern and reached broad consensus. They agreed that both sides would work harder to further consolidate, develop and strengthen the Chian-DPRK traditional friendship and push their friendly relations to a new high. General Secretary Kim Jong Il invited General Secretary Jiang Zemin to the DPRK at his convenience, and the latter accepted the invitation of the former with pleasure. Before their meeting, General Secretary Kim Jong Il and his entourage paid a 4-day visit to Shanghai. Premier Zhu Rongji met him and accompanied the DPRK guest to visit the exhibition hall where Shanghai municipal planning was on display. Party Secretary of Shanghai Municipal Committee Huang Ju accompanied him to visit Pudong Development Zone, Shanghai Stock Exchange, Zhangjiang High-Tech Science Park and Sunqiao Modern Farming Development Zone.
From 3 to 5 September 2001, at the invitation of General Secretary of the WPK and Chairman of the National Defence Commission Kim Jong Il, General Secretary of the CPC and President of China Jiang Zemin paid an official goodwill visit to the DPRK. It is both a visit in response to the two visits to China by General Secretary Kim Jong Il respectively in May 2000 and January 2001 and the first visit to DPRK in the past 11 years by the top Chinese leader. This visit indicates the restoration of exchanges of high-level visits and brings about the new phase of friendly relations and cooperation between the two countries. Attaching great importance to the visit, the DPRK side accorded to it auspicious, warm and friendly reception. During his visit, General Secretary Jiang Zemin held talks with General Secretary Kim Jong Il, and met President of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly Kim Yong Nam and Premier of the Cabinet Hong Song Nam. During their talks and meetings, each side briefed the other side on its political and economic situation, exchanged views on further consolidation and development of friendly relations and cooperation between the two parties and two countries as well as major regional and international issues of mutual concern and reached broad consensus. Both sides agreed that in the spirit of "Carrying on the Traditions, Looking Forward to the Future, Developing Good Neighborliness and Friendship and Strengthen Cooperation" they should work together to push China-DPRK friendly relations and cooperation to a new high. The two leaders exchanged in-depth views on regional and international issues of mutual concern. General Secretary Jiang Zemin also invited General Secretary Kim Jong Il to visit China again, and the latter accepted the former's invitation with pleasure. Accompanied by General Secretary Kim Jong Il, General Secretary Jiang watched a gala performance and a large-scale group show. China provided the DPRK with 200,000 tons of grain and 30,000 tons of diesel as free aid to help the DPRK people tide over their difficulties. The DPRK side expressed their appreciation.
Between 9 and 13, September 2001, the Chinese Goodwill Delegation, headed by Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee the CPC and Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC Jiang Chunyun, visited the DPRK and attended the 40th anniversary of signing of the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and mutual Assistance between China and the DPRK . General Secretary Kim Jong Il met the delegation.
Between 6 and 10 May 2002, leading the Chinese Communist Party Delegation, Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CPC and Party Secretary of the Beijing Municipal Committee Jia Qinglin visited the DPRK . General Secretary Kim Jong Il met him and hosted two dinners in his honor. Kim spoke highly of the growing relations between the two parties and two countries, and hoped that the friendly relations and cooperation would be further strengthened and developed. Jia said that continuous promotion of China-DPRK neighborliness, friendship and cooperation would be in the interest of not only the people of the two countries, but peace and stability of this region and world at large. China would like to work together with the DPRK to further expand their friendly relations and cooperation.
Between 15 and 19 October 2002, Vice-President of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly Yang Hyung Sup paid an official goodwill visit to China as head of the DPRK national delegation. Chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC Li Peng and Vice-President Hu Jintao met him respectively, and Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC Jiang Chunyun hosted a welcome dinner in his honor. Li Peng made it clear that China attached great importance to developing neighborliness and friendship with its neighbors and working hard for peace and stability in this region. He also said that China would go on supporting the DPRK and the ROK in improving their relations and realizing independent peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula. Hu Jintao emphasized that it was the set policy of both the Chinese Communist Party and Government to consolidate and develop China-DPRK traditional friendship and cooperation, and that China would work together with the DPRK to implement the important consensus reached by General Secretary Jiang and General Secretary Kim, to strengthen and deepen contacts and cooperation in various departments and fields between the two parties and two countries, and promote continuous development of China-DPRK friendship and cooperation. Yang Hyung Sup said that both the DPRK Workers Party and Government attached great importance to DPRK-China friendship, and always took DPRK-China relations as the top priority for DPRK's diplomatic work. He also pointed out that the DPRK paid a great tribute to the internal and external policies pursued by the Chinese Communist Party and Government and supported the Chinese Government in achieving the reunification of its motherland in accordance with the policy "One Country, Two Systems".
II. Economic Relations
Over the years, China has always been the DPRK 's main trading partner. In 2002, China-DPRK trade volume reached US$ 0.739 billion, of which China's exports to the DPRK amounted to US$ 0.468 billion and its imports from the DPRK US$ 0.271 billion by an increase of 0.2%, -18.4% and 62.4% from the previous year respectively. China's major products to the DPRK are crude oil, machinery and electronic products as well as consumer goods and its main products imported from the DPRK are steel, timber, mineral products and aquatic products.
Since 1994, in order to help the DPRK tide over its difficulties caused by natural disasters and other factors, China has been providing the DPRK with grain, coke, crude oil and fertilizer as free aid.
III. Bilateral Relations in other Areas
China and the DPRK have always maintained close contacts and cooperation in the military, cultural, educational, scientific, technological and sport fields. Both sides have signed many such treaties and agreements such as the treaty on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance, trade and navigation agreement, air transport agreement and consular agreement. They sign exchange programmes annually in the fields of education, science, technology and sport. China has opened its consulate-general in Chongjin and the DPRK has its consulates-general in Shenyang and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region respectively. Friendly municipal and provincial relations have been established between China's Liaoning, Heilongjiang, Jiangsu and Shanghai and the DPRK 's North Pyong'an Province, North Hamgyong Province, Kangwon Province and Hamheung Province.
IV. Important Bilateral Agreements
1. China-DPRK Agreement on Economic and Cultural Cooperation (signed on Nov. 23, 1953, and became effective on Dec. 9, 1953)
2. China-DPRK Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance (signed on July 11, 1961, and became effective on Sept 10, 1986)
3. China-DPRK Consular Treaty (signed on Nov. 26, 1985, and became effective on July 3, 1986)
Timetable for Important Exchange of Visits between Chinese and the DPRK Leaders
1. Following are the DPRK leaders who have visited China
Name Status Nature of Visit Duration of visit
Kim Il Sung Prime Minister Official Visit Nov. 10 to 27, 1953
Kim Il Sung Ditto Goodwill Visit Sept. 28 to Oct. 1954
Kim Il Sung Ditto Ditto Nov.21 to 28, 1958
Kim Il Sung Ditto Ditto Sept. 25 to Oct. 3, 1959
Kim Il Sung Ditto Ditto July 10 to 15, 1961
Choi Yong Kun President Official Visit Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, 1969
Heo Dam Foreign Minister official Visit Feb. 9 to 14, 1973
Kim Il Sung President of the DPRK Goodwill Visit Apr. 18 to 26, 1975
Li Jong Ok Premier Official Visit Jan. 10 to 14, 1981
Kim Il Sung President of the DPRK State Visit Sept. 16 to 25, 1982
Kim Jong Il Secretary Unofficial Visit Jun 2 to 12, 1983
Kim Yong Nam Vice-Premier and foreign Minister
Official Visit Feb, 7 to 14, 1984
Kang Song San Premier Official Visit Aug, 5 to 10, 1984
Kim Il Sung President of the DPRK Unofficial Visit Nov. 26 to 28, 1984
Kim Il Sung Ditto Official Goodwill Visit May 21 to 25, 1987
Li Kun Mo Premier Ditto Nov. 9 to 11, 1987
Kim Yong Nam Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister
Official Visit Nov, 3 to 7, 1988
Kim Il Sung General Secretary Unofficial Visit Nov, 5 to 7, 1989
Yon Hyung Muk Premier Official Visit Nov. 23 to 28, 1990
Kim Il Sung President of the DPRK Official Goodwill Visit Oct. 4 to 13, 1991
Kim Yong Nam President Official Goodwill Visit June 3 to 7, 1999
Paek Nam Sun Foreign Minister Ditto Mar, 18 to 22, 2000
Kim Jong Il General Secretary Unofficial Visit May 29 to 31, 2000
Kim Jong Il Ditto Ditto Jan, 15 to 20, 2001
Kim Yoon Hyuk Secretary-General Goodwill Visit July 10 to 14, 2001
Yang Hyung Sup Vice-President Official Visit Oct, 15 to 19, 2002
2. Following are the Chinese leaders who have visited the DPRK
Name Status Nature of Visit Duration of Visit
Zhou Enlai Premier Goodwill Visit Feb, 14 to 21, 1958
Liu Shaoqi President Ditto Sept, 15 to 27, 1963
Zhou Enlai Premier Official Goodwill Visit Apr, 5 to 7, 1970
Ji Pengfei Foreign Minister Goodwill Visit Dec. 22 to 25, 1972
Hua Guofeng Party President and Premier
Official Goodwill Visit May 5 to 10, 1978
Deng Xiaoping Vice-Chairman of the Party and Vice-Premier
Goodwill visit Sept, 8 to 13, 1978
Zhao Ziyang Premier Official Visit Dec, 20 to 14, 1981
Hu Yaobang Party Chairman
Deng Xiaoping Vice-Chairman of the Party
Unofficial Visit Apr, 26 to 30, 1982
Wu Xueqian Foreign Minister Official Visit May 20 to 25, 1983
Hu Yaobang General Secretary Official Goodwill Visit May4 to 11, 1984
Hu Yaobang Ditto Unofficial Visit May 4 to 6, 1985
Li Xiannian President Goodwill Visit Oct,. 3 to 6, 1986
Yang Shangkun Ditto Ditto Sept, 7 to 11, 1988
Zhao Ziyang General Secretary
Official Goodwill Visit Apr. 24 to 29 1989
Jiang Zemin Ditto Ditto Mar, 14 to 16, 1990
Li Peng Premier Ditto May, 3 to 6, 1991
Qian Qichen State Councilor and Foreign Minister
Ditto June 17 to 20, 1991
Yang Shangkun President Ditto Apr, 12 to 17, 1992
Hu Jintao Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee
Of CPC and Secretary of the Secretary Party Delegation
July 26 to 29, 1993
Luo Gan State Councilor and Secretary-General of the State Council
Party Delegation July 10 to 13, 1996
Tang Jiaxuan Foreign Minister Goodwill Visit Oct, 5 to 9, 1999
Chi Haotian Vice-Chairman of Central Military Commission,
State Councilor and Defence Minister
Military Delegation Oct, 22 to 26, 2000
Jiang Chunyun Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC
Goodwill Delegation July 9 to 13, 2001
Jiang Zemin General Secretary and President of China
Official Goodwill Visit Sept. 3 to 5, 2001
Ja Qinglin Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CPC
Secretary of Beijing Party Committee Chinese Communist
Party Delegation May 6 to 10, 2002