Why China Will Defend North Korea: China-DPRK Friendship & Co-operation Treaty


People have asked why China will come to the aid of North Korea? This is because a diplomatic agreement exists between Mainland China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). This agreement is entitled in the Chinese language as ‘中朝友好合作互助条约’ – which translates into the English language as the ‘China-DPRK Friendship and Co-Operation Treaty’. It is also informally known in the Chinese language as the ‘中华人民共和国和朝鲜民主主义人民共和国友好合作互助条约’ or ‘People’s Republic of China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Treaty of Friendship and Co-operation’. This Treaty was ratified on July 11th, 1961 in Beijing, with Zhou Enlai representing Communist China and Kim Il Sung representing Communist North Korea. This important Treaty has been automatically renewed twice, and is now valid until 2021.

The Treaty primarily guarantees full military (and other assistance) to the other Contracting Party when the Contracting Party is in a State of War. The parties do not participate in any alliance, group, action or measure that is hostile to the other party. In the economy, culture, science and technology,full cooperation is to be carried-out. Both sides agree to grant where relevant – full economic and technical assistance. From the date of signing (1961), this Treaty is valid and binding to both sides for 20 years, and has been renewed in 1981 and 2001. Either side can request an alteration to the terms, or an annulment of the Treaty in writing 6 months prior to each intended re-newal date.

The Treaty was approved by Liu Shaoqi, Chairman of the People’s Republic of China on August 30, 1961, and was approved by the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Political Consultative Conference of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on August 23, 1961. Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and DPRK Prime Minister Kim Il Sung (as the representatives of the two sides) met on September 10th, 1961 in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang to exchange articles of agreement. In accordance with Article 7 of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Cooperation between China and the DPRK, this Treaty entered into force on September 10th, 1961.

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