Making use of Chinese Foreign Ministry archives and provincial and municipal archives, this article traces the history of cross-border migration of ethnic Koreans from 1950 to 1962, especially the illegal migration of ethnic Koreans to North Korea (DPRK) in 1961. A historical examination of Koreans in northeast China demonstrates that the Chinese Communist Party attempted to achieve a workable policy toward Korean border crossers as well as a disposition to accommodate the DPRK's concerns and imperatives in defining nationality, handling cases of Sino-Korean marriages and exit procedures for ethnic Koreans, receiving Korean nationals to visit China, and dealing with cases of illegal border crossings. To this end, the Chinese authorities were pursuing larger Cold War interests, specifically the desire to keep the DPRK aligned with China during the Sino-Soviet split.

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