President Kim Il Sung in his lifetime used to frequently recollect the persons related to the anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle.
Among them was a Chinese named Lian He-dong who worked as one of the cooks for the Headquarters of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army.
Lian He-dong joined the KPRA in the winter of 1936 when Kim Il Sung was operating in the Mt Paektu area with a base there.
During the raids on Erdaogang, the guerillas of a KPRA unit searched the house of the escaped commander of the “punitive” force of the puppet Manchukuo police and captured the commander’s wife who was hiding and his cook. The captured cook was none other than Lian He-dong. The commander of the “punitive” force was Ma Jin-dou, Kim Il Sung’s classmate in Jilin Yuwen Middle School and schoolmate in Badaogou Primary School.
Kim Il Sung advised Ma’s wife to dissuade her husband from leaving a stain on his name as a traitor, and then released her and her cook.
Lian He-dong, who had heard a lot about the noble personality of Kim Il Sung from Ma Jin-dou, asked to let him join the KPRA.
Since then, he worked as a member of the cooking unit until Kim Il Sung returned to Korea in 1945 after defeating the Japanese imperialists.
In the first half of the 1940s the KPRA formed an allied force with both Chinese and Soviet comrades and had joint exercises. On these occasions, Lian He-dong’s cooking skill became renowned as he was capable of making a variety of dishes out of the same materials. Even Soviet commanders, to say nothing of Chinese commanders, asked Kim Il Sung to give them the Chinese cook.
Lian, who was completely fascinated by Kim Il Sung, refused to go anywhere, neither a Chinese unit nor a Soviet unit.
Pending his triumphal return to the liberated Korea, Kim Il Sung summoned Lian He-dong, praised and thanked him for nearly 10 years of his devoted service, and then conveyed to him the decision of the party organization to transfer him to China.
Lian He-dong entreated Kim Il Sung to take him to Korea.
“I cannot live away from you, General,” he said. “There is no reason why I should live in China just because I am a Chinese. I don’t want to be a regimental commander or anything else. Please let me stay by your side. There is no need to break our friendship deliberately, a friendship that even Japanese guns and swords and Manchurian gales failed to break.”
It was the expression of open-hearted feelings of a Chinese who was captivated by the personality of Kim Il Sung.