In June 1983, while on a visit to China, Chairman Kim Jong Il called on Deng Yingchao, widow of Zhou Enlai and chair of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
Saying that he would offer her a formal greeting, Kim Jong Il got up from his seat, as an expression of his respect for the veteran revolutionary. Deng Yingchao stood up, too, and said repeatedly that they should both sit and talk.
As Kim Jong Il would not sit down, Deng Yingchao said she would talk to him, standing.
So, Kim Jong Il asked her to sit down.
At Deng Yingchao’s repeated request, Kim Jong Il took his seat, and said:
“When I was leaving for China, President Kim Il Sung asked me to convey his warm greetings to you, Comrade Deng Yingchao. He was concerned about your health, as you’re advanced in age.”
Deng Yingchao had visited Korea four years previously. President Kim Il Sung had personally received her at the airport.
At the banquet held in her honour, the President made a speech, and went with her as far as Hamhung to attend the unveiling ceremony of a statue of her husband Zhou Enlai at the Hungnam Fertilizer Complex.
Unable to contain her joy and delight at seeing her most intimate revolutionary comrade-in-arms again, she had repeatedly expressed her gratitude to President Kim Il Sung.
To Deng Yingchao, who was recalling those days with deep emotion, Kim Jong Il said that Zhou Enlai had been a great revolutionary, adding that he had done much for the friendship between China and Korea.
“I’m delighted that President Kim Il Sung, who is the great leader of the Korean people and an intimate friend of the Chinese people, still cherishes the feeling of friendship with Zhou Enlai and is concerned for me. I’ll remember forever what you have just said,” said Deng Yingchao, shedding tears.
The scene was so moving that the Chinese interpreter was unable to speak, and so the Korean interpreter interpreted her words instead.
Time passed, and Kim Jong Il had to leave. Before he left the room he said repeatedly that they should take their leave, but Deng Yingchao insisted on seeing him off outside, saying that she could not see such a dear guest off inside.
Bidding farewell to Kim Jong Il in the garden, Deng Yingchao said earnestly, holding his hands, “It is most auspicious that you have visited my house. I wish you will come frequently to see me.
She stood there for a long time, until Kim Jong Il’s car had disappeared.