WASHINGTON (Yonhap) -- China played a more active role in the Korean War than previously known, a detailed analysis of official data carried out by a U.S. think tank showed Friday.
The analysis carried out by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, in Washington, showed Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai offering tactical military advice to the North Korean military even before the country entered the conflict.
The conflict began with a surprise attack by the North on June 25, 1950 and ended in an armistice three years later. After initial setbacks by the outgunned South Korean army, United Nations forces led by the United States conducted a successful amphibious landing in Incheon, west of Seoul, in September 1950 that set the stage for the full-fledged withdrawal of North Korean forces. This landing allowed allied forces to march toward the Sino-North Korea border that caused Beijing to side with its ideological partner and enter the war in late October.
The findings received by Yonhap News Agency and based on documents from Zhou's published memoirs and data from Chinese government archives revealed the premier ordering Beijing ambassador's to North Korea to deliver a telegram to North Korean leader Kim Il-sung on how his army formations should pull back after the Incheon landing.
The message dated Oct. 1 called on Kim to spilt up his eight divisions into two groups with half to return back to the North and the remainder to stay in South Korea to conduct guerrilla warfare.
Another dispatch dated Sept. 20 urged the North to defend the 38th parallel that had been the border between the two Koreas before the invasion at all costs to ensure that the conflict can be drawn out.
It said the North Korean army should conduct mobile warfare to find weaknesses in the allies so they can concentrate on these weak points to secure victory.
The latest report, in addition, showed Zhou sending a letter to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin on Oct. 14 asking for air force intervention, while a correspondence by Chinese leader Mao Zedong to Chinese General Peng Dehuai in mid-November called on the need to set up a unified command structure to conduct the war with China's participation. Peng was the commander of the Chinese People's Volunteer Army sent to the Korean Peninsula.
Initially, Beijing wanted the war to be led by China and received Stalin's approval, but settled for a joint arrangement with Kim Il-sung and Peng leading the war effort for the communist side, the Woodrow Wilson Center's data showed.
The Woodrow center said based on the information uncovered there emerges a clear picture of how involved Beijing was in the everyday waging of the war.