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북녘 | [Reminiscences]Chapter 8 2. Negotiations with Wu Yi-cheng

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[Reminiscences]Chapter 8  2. Negotiations with Wu Yi-cheng

  

   



2. Negotiations with Wu Yi-cheng 


 

One of the most serious\and pressing problems we faced in our activities after we moved to Wangqing was sharp confrontation with the Chinese nationalist anti-Japanese armed forces. In the year 1933, the Japanese imperialists’ persistent machinations, intended to sow dissent, the frequent vacillations on the part of the leaders of the Chinese nationalist armed forces,\and the harmful effects of the Leftist Soviet line, brought the relations between the Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army\and the national salvation army again to the brink of armed conflict.
I have mentioned before that the communists of Korea\and China invested great efforts in the work with the Chinese nationalist units in Manchuria after the September 18 incident.
Thanks to these efforts the Wangqing guerrilla unit was able to maintain intimate relations with those Chinese nationalist units in the early days. To cite an admirable example, on one side, two armed units–the AJPGA\and the self-defence corps–and, on the other side, Commander Guan’s battalion concerted their efforts to repulse an attack by Japanese garrison troops at Tokgol in the spring of 1932.

At that time the Japanese garrison troops in Daduchuan had moved scores of carts towards Tokgol in\order to transport timber that had been cut during the reign of the Kuomintang. There were large stockpiles of timber in the valleys of Dawangqing\and Xiaowangqing. That day our forces lured the enemy into an ambush, killing most of the force of 40 to 50 garrison troops\and capturing many weapons.
The battle at Tokgol marked a turning-point in the work to improve the image of the communists in Wangqing,\where anti-communist feelings were deep-rooted,\and in the development of relations with the NSA rom hostility to cooperation. The battle paved the way for the Korean communists to infiltrate into the NSA. After the battle Kim Un Sik, Hong Hae Il, Won Hong Gwon, Jang Ryong Sam, Kim Ha Il\and others joined Guan’s unit.
Kim Ha Il, a crackshot, was appointed communications officer\and Kim Un Sik, a man of knowledge, was appointed chief of staff soon after that.
As they had done in the past the people of Macun washed the clothes of the men\and officers of Guan’s unit after the battle,\and sent them toothbrushes, tooth powder, soap, towels\and tobacco pouches as gifts; moreover, they frequently\organized artistic performances by Children’s Corps members. The Young Communist League members conducted political work among them with propaganda leaflets.

In general, the NSA soldiers seldom called the communists “tongzhi ” (comrade); however, the officers\and men of Guan’s unit always called our guerrillas “tongzhi ” whenever they met them.

The guerrillas who joined Guan’s unit were all qualified at least for district party committee members, so they were efficient in working among the officers\and men of the NSA unit. Battalion Commander Guan was charmed by the communists’ personalities\and qualifications. Winning him over was an event of great significance for the improvement of relations with the other units of the NSA.
The anti-Japanese guerrilla unit in the Hunchun area exchanged information with the NSA units,\and they cooperated even in the struggle against the enemy’s lackeys. The guerrillas in Yantonglazi armed themselves with weapons provided by a NSA unit.
The prevailing situation favoured the communists: this turning-point meant that they could establish a united front with the NSA if they worked harder.
However, the “Kim Myong San incident” provoked by the Leftist adventurists had nullified the friendly relations with Chinese nationalist units which had been established with so much effort. This incident resulted in Battalion Commander Guan’s surrender to the Japanese imperialists\and in other NSA units breaking with the communists. At about the same time the guerrilla unit led by Choe Hyon opened fire with a machinegun on the soldiers of a Chinese nationalist unit in Yanji County as they defected to the enemy; this incident further complicated relations with the NSA.

In its early days the Wangqing guerrilla unit made quite a few mistakes in its relations with the NSA. Swayed by his desire to obtain a few rifles, Ryang Song Ryong, who was in charge of the battalion, did not implement the line of the united front to the letter. He had a fine personality\and was a competent officer who commanded skilfully in battle, but his ingrained military routinism\and adventurism led him to slight the united front. We criticized him severely for this.
Only Kaoshan unit, which had been under our constant influence, did not follow the example of Battalion Commander Guan; this unit maintained a lasting alliance with our anti-Japanese guerrilla army. On the Tano day\or the fifth day of the fifth lunar month of 1933 the unit, in cooperation with the self-defence corps in Jattogi (the present Taipingcun) which was led by Pak Tu Song, repelled an attack of the 300-strong Japanese garrison troops\and the puppet Manchukuo army, when they invaded Shiliping via Dongnancha rom their base in the Dongning county town. Many of the invading troops were killed.
The NSA units neglected long-range observation, posting sentries only directly in front of their headquarters; so the Anti-Japanese Self-Defence Corps maintained long-range observation posts for Kaoshan unit. When he had to send important, urgent messages to other Chinese units, Kaoshan would often ask the paramilitary\organizations in Shiliping for help. The members of the Children’s Vanguard were extremely responsible in the way they transmitted these messages for him.

However, this friendly relationship did not extend to other units,\and the reckless Leftist tendency prevalent in the guerrilla zone threatened it in this case.
The Leftist Soviet policy helped to accelerate the corruption\and degeneration of the Chinese nationalist anti-Japanese units which only recently had been our allies\or sympathizers.
The Leftist opportunists conducted their work with the Chinese units in an ultra-Leftist fashion. They indiscriminately promoted such slogans as “Down with the officers rom the landlord\and propertied class!”\and “Soldiers should mutiny\and come over to the guerrilla army!” claiming that we should “establish a united front only with the rank\and file”\and “make the soldiers of the NSA kill their commanders\and rise in revolt.” The only result they produced was the harmful one of destroying our unity with the upper echelons of the Chinese units.
The Chinese nationalist units killed Korean people, saying that they were “Japanese puppets”\and “laogaoli gongchandang ” (“Korean communists”–Tr.).
The Japanese imperialists took advantage of this situation to launch an all-out offensive to drive wedges between the Korean\and Chinese peoples, between the Korean\and Chinese communists\and between our Anti-Japanese People’s Guerrilla Army\and the Chinese nationalist army. rom the first day of their occupation of Manchuria, they made desperate efforts to gain control over the NSA units which had broken with Zhang Xue-liang’s former Northeast Army\and fought under the anti-Japanese banner. What they feared most here was the alignment of our guerrilla army\and the NSA. They were well aware that such an alignment of communists\and NSA units would produce a formidable force that would undermine Japanese imperialist rule\and be a stumbling block in their path of aggression across the continent.
Japan’s skill in sowing dissension was clearly revealed in the Wanbaoshan incident, the Longjing incident (an abortive scheme),\and the Fushun incident. The Japanese strategic intelligence service, which was skilled in underhand subterfuge, did not hesitate to invent such a murderous drama as the Fushun incident, at which even a beast\or a stone Buddha might feel shame, in\order to weaken the good-neighbourly relations between the Korean\and Chinese peoples. The Fushun incident involved the murder of an innocent Chinese in Fushun by a Japanese who was\ordered to stab him with a dagger provided by the Japanese intelligence service. The murder was committed but the scheme failed to create bad blood between the Korean\and Chinese peoples even though the plotters had disguised the murderer in a Korean overcoat to reinforce the rumour that it was a Korean who had murdered the Chinese\and escaped. He was identified as a Japanese when his Japanese clothes were spotted under the Korean coat.

A number of such incidents culminated in the Liutiaogou incident\and the Lugou Bridge incident. The method Japan applied every time she hatched a plot was equally primitive\and brutal.
 
However, many people were easily deceived by these put-up jobs, even though they themselves often suffered because of the Japanese imperialists’ dastardly methods in cooking up their shams.
While spreading rumours, such as “The Korean people will lay claim to Manchuria,”\and “The communists are going to disarm the NSA,” the Japanese imperialists gave the reactionaries belonging to the “Minsaengdan” a reason to clamour for Korean autonomy in Jiandao, that is, for the establishment of a “Korean autonomous region in Jiandao”\and a “Korean legal autonomous government,” so playing the Korean people off against the Chinese people. At other times they would set fire to Chinese houses\and spread the lie that the Korean guerrillas had done it.
Another reason for the collapse of the united front was that the Japanese imperialists laid schemes for the surrender of the leaders of the Chinese anti-Japanese units, which resulted in the degeneration of the latter’s anti-Japanese consciousness.
In January 1933, Wang Yu-zhen, who was in Tumenzi, Hunchun County, surrendered to the enemy with his soldiers. Hundreds of them were restructured into a special guerrilla unit fighting against us. In February, half of the soldiers of Guan’s unit in Xiaowangqing capitulated\and joined the defence corps\and the public security bureau of Manchukuo; in the same month scores of the officers\and men of the Ma Gui-lin’s unit which was appearing frequently in the vicinity of Dahuanggou, capitulated\and joined the self-defence corps in Hamatang. The officers\and soldiers of order to win over Commanders Wu\and Chai we would have to prevent Ri Chong Chon, the latter’s adviser, rom interfering in the negotiations,\and that this was a problem.
I insisted on going to negotiate in spite of all the difficulties Pan had pointed out.
I said, “Ri is a Korean; even though he is anti-communist, he will not place obstacles in our way if we argue persuasively. He is an old acquaintance of mine. I spoke with him several times during the meeting on the merging of the three nationalist\organizations in Jilin. My father was also close friends with him.”
Pan tried his best to prevent my making an adventure, saying:

“What difference does it make now whether someone is an acquaintance\or a stranger? Do you think they will treat acquaintances differently rom strangers? Worse still, they say Wu is a die-hard. The odds are against us.”
“I once managed to win over Commander Yu in Antu. So why not Wu Yi-cheng?”
“When you were negotiating with Yu, Mr. Liu Ben-cao was his chief of staff. That gave you a good start.”
“I could have a good start in Wu’s unit, too. Chen Han-zhang is working as chief secretary in the unit. The chief of staff, Hu Jin-min, is one of our operatives, too.”

This remark threw myself into consternation. Only a few days before I had received a letter rom Chen, whose role as a powerful support I always emphasized, requesting me to take decisive measures to assist him. On the grounds that it was almost impossible to effect an alliance with Commander Wu through his own efforts, he wrote that he “would like measures to be taken by the\organization as soon as possible, for only Comrade Kim Il Sung will be able to find a solution to this problem.” Pan, too, knew about this.
“The revolution has a long way to go,\and you should not engage in such an adventure. Please think about it carefully, for mercy’s sake,” Pan implored. “You must not regard yourself as your own property. One slip\and you could become another Ri Kwang. Don’t forget that. Even if we all die, you must survive\and fight to the last for Korea on behalf of all of us.”
Pan’s remark moved me, but I could not abandon my commitment to an allied front.
After Pan had left for Hunchun County delegates rom guerrilla units in every county of east Manchuria gathered in Wangqing\and held a meeting to discuss the question of a united front. The main agenda item was the formation of an alliance with the NSA, in other words, who should go to lead negotiations at Luozigou,\where the NSA units led by Wu Yi-cheng, Chai Shi-rong, Shi Zhong-heng\and others, were concentrated.

I insisted that I should go. The meeting decided that my journey to Luozigou would be possible only with an escort of 100 guerrillas,\and granted permission. The journey to Wu Yi-cheng was no simple one as we have already seen.
In\order to negotiate with Wu, I had to find out about the situation there through such people as Chen Han-zhang\and Hu Jin-min. However, Chen was Wu’s chief secretary\and a serious man; he would not play games, shut away in his office.\and if he showed himself outside, he could be misunderstood if he made a contact with Koreans. Nevertheless, he was sure to help me in my work no matter what the risk because in former days he had been a member of the Young Communist League\organization in which I had had a part,\and we had pledged loyalty to one another at that time.
After writing to Chen\and Hu, I sent letters to Wu Yi-cheng\and Chai Shi-rong, explaining the purpose of our journey to Luozigou. To make the letters more formal, we stamped a large, square seal beside the name of the sender.
After dispatching the letters we inquired into the reaction in Wu’s unit through the revolutionary\organizations in Luozigou,\and the reports were good. The underground\organizations even informed us of the fact that the NSA had set up a placard with the words “Welcome to the Korean Anti-Japanese Guerrilla Army!” at the entrance to the town.
I left for Luozigou with 100\selected men. As they marched along in new uniform,\and with new rifles\and leather kit-bags over their shoulders, they were a spectacular sight.

I rode on a white horse at the head of the column.

On arrival at Taipinggou we issued a statement on the AJPGA’s entry into Luozigou\and dispatched an\orderly to Wu’s unit; then we settled in for the night, waiting for a reply.
The following day we received notice rom Luozigou that they had agreed to the proposed negotiations. Chen Han-zhang’s assurances had proved effective in persuading Wu to accept our proposal. When he received my letter he recommended Commander Kim to Wu as someone he knew well,\and said I was a very good-natured man.
As he listened to his recommendation Wu asked him, “He is a communist, how is it that you know him so well? Are you then a communist, too?”
Chen replied that Commander Kim was his schoolmate\and an old acquaintance.
“If he is your schoolmate\and a good fellow, then I will talk to him over luncheon.”
We posted a company rom Hunchun in the lower village of Taipinggou so that they could support us in case the NSA should detain us\or do us harm; then our remaining 50 men entered the town of Luozigou in an imposing array, flying a red flag\and sounding a trumpet.
Chen Han-zhang, who came to greet the guerrilla army, guided me to the headquarters of the NSA. Jo Tong Uk\and Ri Song Rim, my\orderly, who were to assist me during the negotiations, followed Chen, with wooden-cased Mausers at their sides. There were several aides of Kuomintang\origin in the headquarters.

Wu Yi-cheng was a man of fine presence with a long beard. I had heard a rumour that he was so arrogant he would not stand up even when a visitor called\and would talk to him, sprawling on a tigerskin\and drinking tea; but on that day he greeted me with all due formality. However, he did not maintain the Chinese custom of offering his guest tea.
At first I greeted him in a humble manner, saying, “We highly appreciate the patriotism of your unit’s joining the anti-Japanese struggle when many units rom Zhang Xue-liang’s former Northeast Army were surrendering to the Japanese army.”
My greeting brought a smile to the corners of his lips\and he\ordered his aide to bring tea.
“I have heard reports that you, Commander Kim, are fighting well against the Japanese. Your army is not great in numbers but you know how to fight; we are not like you, even though we have many soldiers. My men say the soldiers you brought with you have brand-new rifles; will you not exchange some of them for our old ones?”
The negotiations thus began with his words of greeting, which were somewhat perplexing. Facing Commander Wu as he tried to fathom the other party’s thoughts by praising him on\and at the same time requesting something difficult to comply with, I judged that he was a competent diplomat\and shrewd man who had known both sweetness\and bitterness in his life. I did not think that a forward area commander, the leader of thousands of soldiers, would make such a request at the first meeting without forethought, simply out of greed for a few new rifles.

“You say exchange? We can give them free.”

I satisfied his request without any fuss\and added in a casual manner, “Is there any need to deal in such petty matters? We’ll have plenty of them if we fight a battle with the Japanese. But since you request it, we will give them as a gift.”
Wu stroked his beard down\and then approached me rom a different angle, “Well, what is your communist party? That man, Chen Han-zhang, says the communist party is not bad, but I can’t believe him. Zhou Bao-zhong is also a communist\and when he was my adviser, I found him not to my liking, always wasting time for some reason, I don’t know why. So I got rid of him. By the way, I heard that you communists destroy the mountain shrines when you pass by them.”
“Why should we destroy the shrines? It is a lie told by wicked people to discredit the communists.”
“Then, do you, Commander Kim, pay tribute at the shrines?”

“I neither destroy them nor pay tribute to them, for it is nothing to do with me. What about you, Commander Wu?”
“Neither do I.”

“Then both of us are the same in that neither pays tribute.” Dumbfounded, he stroked his beard once again with a smile on
his face.

“That’s right. By the way, they say that communists, men\and women alike, all sleep under one quilt\and they plunder the people of their property. Is this true?”

I realized that the success of the negotiations depended on how I could manage this question\and that I must give him an appropriate answer which would give him a correct understanding of communists.
 
“That is another fabrication of the bad elements. It is true that some alleged communists have deprived landowners of their lands, regardless of whether they are pro-Japanese\or anti-Japanese, but we don’t regard it as a good thing. However, the landlords should have had the generosity to give the sharecroppers who were dying rom hunger, some grain. Can it be right that they regard them with indifference while they feather their own nests? Why should the poor peasants revolt if they are given food grain? Hungry people have no way to survive but by fighting. I may be wrong but I believe the Taiping Rebellion took place in China in the last century for the same reason.”
Wu Yi-cheng nodded his head.

“That seems right. Those who wish to eat their fill\and live comfortably by themselves are evil-doers in this chaotic situation.”
Grasping my opportunity, I continued:

“That men\and women sleep under one quilt is a lie the Japanese invented to insult the communists. There are many woman soldiers in our guerrilla unit, but such a thing never occurs. If they fall in love, they get married. Our discipline between men\and women is very strict.”

“That’s what I mean. It must never happen that several men sleep with one woman in turn.”
“Of course not. There are no men in the world more decent-minded than us communists.”
When our conversation reached this point, Wu began calling me “Commander Kim”\and stopped using awkward words.
 
“Ha, ha! Commander Kim is trying to make a communist of me.”
“I have no thought of making you a communist, Commander Wu. A man cannot be made a communist by someone else. However, I think it advisable to unite our efforts to defeat the Japanese imperialists.”
Wu Yi-cheng gestured nervously with his arm.

“We don’t collaborate with the communists, even if it means fighting on our own.”
“Surely it is good to fight the Japanese in cooperation when we are not strong enough alone?”
“I still don’t need favours rom the communists.”

“No one can predict his future. Some day you may ask a favour rom us.”
“Well, that may well be possible. God only knows what awaits a man. By the way, may I ask a favour of you? Won’t you join jiajiali ? It is better than the communist party, I think,” he said casually.
Seeing me hesitate, he looked at me in amusement.

I was perplexed to hear the word jiajiali in that context.

Commander Wu had puzzled me completely.

Jiajiali is a Chinese word meaning “one family.” It is an\organization of the Chinese people which was also called Qinghongbang. It was formed as a\union against the emperor by the workers who dug canals\and hauled boats, when they could no longer endure their hardships. There was no private property in this\organization,\and it was a large one for that time.

When people swear brotherhood, they become elder\and younger brothers, but people joining jiajiali become fathers\and sons. A man who wishes to find a father could join it, but not a man who wishes to find sons. The higher the caste of the jiajiali was, the more dignified its members were\and the more authority they possessed. A ceremony was held when a man joined. Kim Jae Bom (alias Kim Phyong), who had joined a jiajiali of the 24th generation on our instructions, had said that the ceremony was spectacular. A new member had to bow hundreds of times to those who were to become his fathers\and seniors.
Now I had received an embarrassing invitation to join such an\organization. If I declined, the negotiations which had gone smoothly so far might be deadlocked; but if I accepted, he would take me to a Buddha\and make me bow there\and then, which would mean making myself subordinate to Wu Yi-cheng. When preparing for the negotiations, we had not anticipated this kind of situation. Anyway, I had to resolve the dilemma.

“It would be a fine thing for you\and I to enter a jiajiali, but before we join another\organization we are obliged to obtain permission rom the party\organization. If it is not granted, I can do nothing. Let us leave the matter until I obtain permission rom our\organization.”

“Ha, ha! Then, it seems you are a half-baked commander, not a fully-fledged one.”
Commander  Wu  looked  at  me  with  a  slightly  dissatisfied expression on his face\and all of a sudden asked me, “Do you drink, Commander Kim?”
“I can drink, but don’t even if I want to, lest it hamper me in fighting against the Japanese.”
“Your communist party is agreeable to me. I wish to cooperate with you but I am afraid I would have to imbibe Marxism. Spreading communism among our people is not good.”
“Don’t worry about it, Commander. We have no intention of propagating communism. We will only carry out anti-Japanese propaganda.”
“Your party is very gentlemanly for a communist party. But it was wrong of the communists in Wangqing to disarm Commander Guan’s battalion. What is your opinion of that incident?”
“What more is there to say about it? It was the most serious mistake of all possible mistakes. So we severely reprimanded the Wangqing special detachment last year.”
“Commander Kim, you are a fair-minded soldier. By the way, some people say that the communist party is right in everything it does. How could that be?”
“A communist is also a man. So how could he make no mistakes? I, too, make mistakes now\and then, for I am not a machine, but a man. When one tries to do a great deal of work, one is bound to make mistakes sometimes. So we study hard\and improve ourselves so that we shall commit fewer errors.”

“You are right. Lazy men who do nothing will make no mistakes. The communists do many things\and this we appreciate.
 
In general, it is amusing to talk to you, Commander Kim. You are candid, so we do understand each other.”
Saying this, Wu wound up the negotiations for the moment. He took me politely by the hand\and then released his grip. I was sure the negotiations were going well. On the spur of the moment he said good-humouredly that Chen Han-zhang, a friend of Commander Kim, helped him with his writing\and that without him he was as good as blind.
Wu asked me whether I knew Hu Jin-min. I answered that I did not know him, for I was afraid the nature of our relations might be revealed if I answered in the affirmative. He called Hu Jin-min\and politely introduced him to me. Hu\and I said, “How do you do?” to each other as if we were strangers. Chen Han-zhang told me that it was very rare for Wu to introduce his staff officers to visitors in this way; he said confidently that I could regard the negotiations as successful.
That day we agreed with Wu Yi-cheng to establish a standing body called the Joint Anti-Japanese Army Coordination Commission which would keep the AJPGA\and the NSA in touch with each other\and coordinate their actions. We also discussed the membership of the commission. Wang Run-cheng, a Chinese, was appointed a representative of the Chinese units\and Jo Tong Uk, a representative of our unit. We decided to set up the commission’s office in Luozigou, near Commander Wu’s headquarters.

Wu Yi-cheng invited us to luncheon. Chen Han-zhang informed me that this also was special treatment.
 
The conversation over luncheon also took place in a friendly atmosphere. Whenever the Japanese imperialist occupation of Manchuria came up, Wu would frown indignantly, twitching his thick eyebrows. He was also indignant at the murder of Ri Kwang by Tong Shan-hao.
“They are indigenous bandits, not our sort. That Tong Shan-hao was certain to become a cat’s paw of the Japanese! That his ilk has harmed your army is a cursed crime. I am ashamed that such a devil can be one of our Chinese nation.”
This remark gave me a glimpse of another side of his personality.
I was satisfied with the result of the negotiations\and Wu Yi-cheng’s hospitality. Wu put on airs,\and he was tainted with the ideology of the Kuomintang, but that was not the fundamental point. What was important was his exceptionally strong anti-Japanese spirit\and his great commitment to national salvation. Cooperation would have been inconceivable if only our distinctions had been asserted, the ideology, class\and nationality which separated us. The goal of an allied front permitted us to scorn such\limitations.

That same day I sent a liaison man to Xiaowangqing with a letter saying that cooperation with Commander Wu had been successfully arranged, that the question of Chai Shi-rong was still outstanding, that we would try to approach him gradually,\and that the unit should make full preparations for action because we needed to attack a large walled county town like Dongning in order to step up the united front.

After our success in the first contact with Wu Yi-cheng, we immediately tackled the work of winning over the unit of Chai Shi-rong, the most obstinate force among the NSA units, to the anti-Japanese united front. Chen Han-zhang said Commander Wu seemed to be quite determined, but Commander Chai posed a problem; he was anxious to find a way of expelling Ri Chong Chon. Commander Wu had only one brigade. Commander Chai had a larger force.
I suggested negotiations to Ri Chong Chon, but he declined. On the contrary, he incited Chai to disarm the communist army. But Chai, who would normally heed any advice rom Ri, objected to that trick. He said that if he were not careful, he could get into serious trouble, since Commander Wu Yi-cheng had dined with Commander Kim\and that, moreover, Commander Kim was in command of the Wangqing unit, which fought bravely. Ri Chong Chon worked so hard to incite Chai against communism that we could not even meet him face to face.
The only way of solving the problem was to separate Commander Chai’s unit rom Wu Yi-cheng. The method used to separate Wu Yi-cheng, who had agreed to cooperate with us, rom Chai Shi-rong was to bring Shi Zhong-heng’s brigade, Wu Yi-cheng’s main force, under our influence. If we dealt with the brigade commander properly, we could further consolidate our initial success in the negotiations with Wu Yi-cheng.

I inquired about the composition of his brigade; most of the soldiers were of lower class\origin. Shi Zhong-heng himself had been a swineherd for a landowner at the age of 9\and then joined the army to support himself. He had served under Wang De-lin in the Jilin field army; after the September 18 incident he had entered the national salvation army\and led a platoon, a company\and a regiment,\and now he was a brigadier-general. He was a typical soldier who relished fighting.
I went to see Shi Zhong-heng with a letter of introduction rom Hu Jin-min on the day Hu wrote it. When I requested an interview, Shi complied without ceremony, setting all his other business aside. He treated me warmly, like a friend, saying that a visit to his unit by Commander Kim who fought the Japanese so successfully was an auspicious occasion. He was neither against communism, nor was he like a warlord; he was open-hearted\and gentle.
Shi said that our unit’s successive victories in the fight with the Japanese army were a source of pride to the people living in east Manchuria as well as to the Korean people. At that time we had already dealt heavy blows against the Japanese imperialists in the battles at Jiapigou, Liangshuiquanzi\and several other places. Although the media had not reported them, the news of those battles had been spread widely throughout the Jiandao area. To my surprise, Shi was well aware of the details of the battles\and their results.

He welcomed my proposal for a joint attack on the Dongning county town. He said, “I had long wished for a strong neighbour\and friend such as your army, Commander Kim .We are brothers from today. Your enemy is my enemy\and your friend is my friend.”
We embraced each other warmly in celebration of the success of our negotiations. rom that day we were brothers\and comrades-in-arms who shared the days of fierce battle like brothers. Our close friendship remained unchanged until he fell in battle as the commander of the 2nd Independent Division.
The outcome of the negotiations at Luozigou removed the greatest obstacle in the way of the anti-Japanese revolution. While cooperation with Commander Yu was the starting-point of the allied front, the negotiation with Wu Yi-cheng was a historic step towards extending that initial success gained to the whole area of east Manchuria; it was a stunning event which put an end to the meaningless confrontation\and bloodshed occurring between the Korean\and Chinese nations since the May 30 Uprising\and the Wanbaoshan incident\and merged the fierce anti-Manchukuo\and anti-Japanese tendencies into one raging torrent.
Through the negotiations with Wu Yi-cheng\and Shi Zhong-heng we realized quite clearly that a united front was possible only when our own forces were strong. Had we not displayed our military strength to the full through the campaigns in south\and north Manchuria in 1932\and through the large\and small battles in 1933 in\and around Wangqing,\and had we not developed the guerrilla army into an indomitable armed force, Wu Yi-cheng would have turned us away rom his door. The alliance with Wu Yi-cheng was established so smoothly because we were strong, because our politics\and morals were superior to those of the NSA,\and because our ardent patriotism, international fraternity\and unshakable faith in the validity of our cause won his sympathy.
Since the day I achieved cooperation with the NSA I have regarded it as axiomatic that the best resources for an allied front are one’s own forces\and that one cannot fight in cooperation with any friendly army\or country without fostering one’s own strength,\and I have devoted my entire life to consolidating the motive force of the revolution.
Wu Yi-cheng\and Chai Shi-rong also agreed with my idea of attacking the Dongning county town. We held a joint meeting in Luozigou with Wu Yi-cheng, Shi Zhong-heng, Chai Shi-rong\and other commanders of the NSA,\and mapped out a detailed plan of operations for the battle; then I wrote to our headquarters in Wangqing once again.
Thanks to the successful negotiations with Wu Yi-cheng\and victory in the battle at Dongning county town, we became widely known to the guerrilla units of the Koreans, Chinese NSA units\and other anti-Manchukuo, anti-Japanese forces. Cooperation with Wu Yi-cheng convinced me more than ever that strengthening the united front was essential to the survival of the anti-Japanese revolution as a whole\and the key to promoting the revolution.

Even after I had left Jiandao\and moved the theatre of operations to the Changbai area, I looked back with emotion upon the days when I strove to make the negotiations with Wu a success. Wu Yi-cheng, now as a member of the Northeast Anti-Japanese Allied Army, was fighting in those days on our flank, with Fusong\and its district as his base. When I heard he was fighting nearby, I was reminded of our old friendship, sealed in the days of the common struggle.
With more than 100 guerrillas, I went to the woods east of Xigang\where the secret camps of Wu Yi-cheng’s unit were located. Wu rushed to the edge of the camp\and embraced me. We hugged each other as warmly as childhood friends separated for scores of years.
No sooner did I feel Wu’s coarse moustache smelling of gunsmoke on my chin, than a lump rose in my throat despite myself. I could not understand why a meeting with this Chinese man whose character contained so much of the warlord, who was so very proud, should make me choke. Our friendship sealed in the days of battle was quite exceptional. I was greatly moved that Commander Wu treated me quite sincerely like his own brother, disregarding my nationality\and age.
No friendship in the world can be more sincere, more ardent\and more durable than friendship formed under the hail of fire. Is this not the reason why we call the friendship between the very closest of friends a militant friendship?

I could find no trace in him of the former haughty pride which led him to assess people’s ability with his sharp eyes while lounging over a tigerskin. He looked like an old, generous villager rather than a hero of the green forest with thousands of soldiers under his command. He seemed to have lost weight\and his eyes seemed less bright.

I stayed for two days in Wu Yi-cheng’s secret camp before returning. As I was leaving Wu Yi-cheng offered to turn over 100 of his soldiers to me. When I declined, he feigned anger, saying, “You obviously lack\or want nothing. However, Commander Kim, as a friend I must give you some assistance towards your preparations for a great campaign. Those 100 men must fight under your command rather than following me. As the saying goes–Mugwort grows straight on the hemp plantation.”
I have not met Wu Yi-cheng since then. At the end of the year I heard that Wu had gone to the Soviet\union after entrusting his unit to another man; then I lost contact with him\and heard no more of him.
Wu Yi-cheng was not simply a companion of convenience while we were putting together the allied front; he was an unforgettable comrade-in-arms who braved the hail of bullets shoulder to shoulder with us in battle. How Commander Wu spent the latter part of his life\and how he met his fate still remain unclear. Worst of all, there is nowhere I can turn for reliable information.

If he remained loyal to the ideal of patriotism until the last moment of his life, then that is enough to satisfy me.


  

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