In 1923 Soong Ching Ling entered her thirtieth year. In January, she accompanied Sun Yat-sen in his week of conversations with a senior Soviet government envoy, A.Joffe in Shanghai, which resulted in the famous Sun-Joffe declaration on January 26.
Sun and Joffe's conversations were conducted in English. So was their previous correspondence over a period of five months which Soong Ching Ling, as Sun's confidential English secretary undoubtedly handled. At the same time, in Sun's negotiations and correspondence with him, she gained a sense not only of the common ground but of the complexities involved.
The Sun-Joffe Declaration that wound up their talks would have historic results. Carefully phrased, it inaugurated several years of increasingly close cooperation including political, organizational, and military aid not only between the political parties involved but also between Sun's government in Guangzhou and the Soviet government.
Amid such events, Soong Ching Ling continued to learn from Sun. First, she learned from the dauntless spirit in which he met every bitter reverse. For example, Chen Jiongming's revolt had robbed him of his base in Guangzhou and almost of his life. Yet he was able to draw from it new energy in his revolutionary quest. This ability she would inherit.
Second, she learned from his own ability to learn, and to choose an international revolutionary alliance made possible by Russia's October.
In the meantime, a process was beginning within the revolution to make up for two deadly weaknesses, namely a revolutionary party lack in a truly ironic discipline and abilities to organize the enlightened masses, and a revolutionary army created by the party as its pioneer.